White Oak Records
Wisconsin’s Art Stevenson is not only an excellent harmonica player, but is also a good singer and guitarist. He is also the founding member of his band Art Stevenson and High Water, and he is the promoter of the Bluegrass in the Pines bluegrass festival and is busy as host of his radio show Back To The Country on Madison’s WORT FM station.
This project is a result of the many requests from fans and listeners for an album focusing on the popular bluegrass and old-time tunes that he had played harmonica on over the years. Here Stevenson is joined by a host of supporting musicians to include Dale Reichart (banjo), Audie Blaylock (mandolin), Stephanie Stevenson (bass, vocals), Bruce B. King (mandolin), Chris Silver (guitar), Gary Bartig (mandolin), Lonnie Bowden (jaw harp, vocals), Tom Boyarski (guitar), Oscar Noetzel (banjo), Sam Pankratz (guitar), and Gavin Schaberg (banjo).
Many of the selections are from the traditional catalog and are familiar to all. These include “Sail Away Ladies,” “Sally Goodin,” “Pick A Bale of Cotton,” “Angelina Baker,” “Black Mountain Rag,” “Salt Creek,” and “Ole Joe Clark.” Then there is Monroe’s “Gold Rush,” a couple from Fred Rose “Bringing In The Georia Mail” and “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain,” and, of course Ervin Rouse’s tour de force “Orange Blossom Special.” Hearing Stevenson’s command of the harmonica on these tunes shows why he is considered one of the best.