BALSAM RANGE, MOUNTAIN VOODOO
Mountain Home MH-1673-CD
The rise of Balsam Range in the bluegrass world has been impressive. They have consistently put out great music and won the big awards. Now, the western North Carolina-based group has released their sixth album Mountain Voodoo and it’s a testament to the band’s talent, approach to music, and their knack for picking the right songs.
On this album, travel songs and true-to-life stories set the tone with wonderful musicianship and arrangements. Five songs were written or co-written by Milan Miller. This album comes out of the gate with an instantly memorable Miller-penned song called “Something ’Bout That Suitcase,” a wonderful cut about noticing a traveler who is carrying a suitcase that has seen some true-life blues, ups and downs, adventure, and heartache. Another Miller song “Eldorado Blue,” co-written with James Ellis, is along the same vein, about a young girl in a small town that others want her to leave to see the big, wide world. Yet, she values what she has there—her husband and family, the simple life. There ain’t nobody waiting down in Arkansas, she replies, And I don’t know no one in no Baton Rouge / Ain’t no way I’m going down to Wichita, and leaving Eldorado Blue.
Other highlights include the slinky and spooky title-cut, the Western Swing groove of “Hello Heartache,” and the straight-ahead bluegrass of “Blue Collar Dreams,” “The Girl From The Highlands,” “Chain Gang Blues,” and the Marc Pruett instrumental “Spring Hill.” And then there’s the love song to the hills of home, “I Hear The Mountains,” which will tug at anyone’s heart who has a love for The Appalachians that run from Georgia to Maine. (www.mountainhomemusiccompany.com)DH