Amanda Cook’s latest album combines her distinctive voice, tight picking from her band and solid songwriting from some of bluegrass’s best pens to create a winner.
Changes is Cook’s fourth full length studio album with Mountain Fever records. It follows Narrowing the Gap, which was released in 2021. The new album has already been well received, hitting #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Album chart in October. Songs are getting regular radio play.
Changes leads off with “Another Highway This Time,” written by Thomm Jutz and Mark Fain. It’s a great bouncy tune and leads into arguably the CD’s best track, “Carried Away,” which was written by Paula Breedlove and Brad Davis. Regular listeners to bluegrass radio will recognize it immediately.
Jutz contributed two other songs, “Ohio,” with Kim Richey and Jefferson Ross, and “Things That Matter Most,” co-written with Will Jones.
Other highlights include “Ready for a Bluer Sky,” written by Becky Buller and Theo MacMillan and “Lay Me to Rest.”
Not to be overlooked are two songs penned by mandolin player Troy Boone, “Back to My Home” and the hard-driving gospel number, “Walk the Way of Light.” Banjo player Caroline Van Lierop shins on the former.
Rounding out Cook’s band are George Mason on fiddle; Josh Faul on bass; and Brady Wallen on guitar. Aaron Ramsey plays guitar on the song “Stars.”
Overall, Changes is a strong effort that continues Cook’s rising star in bluegrass.