DALE ANN BRADLEY, POCKET FULL OF KEYS
Pinecastle Records PRC1196
My first taste for most of the music on this CD was sampled in person at the Station Inn in Nashville at Dale Ann Bradley’s CD release party. While it’s hard to beat a live performance, her latest project certainly captures that live feel. Her incredible vocals began to bud in the similar Ralph Stanley setting of the a cappella hymnals in the Primitive Baptist Church. She’s able to put her spirit into each song she sings with an interpretation that makes you feel she’s lived every word.
In some cases, there are songs she wrote that were inspired by her life, such as the title-track and first single from the disc. While Bradley remains true to her traditional roots, she branches out with her cover of the Gin Blossoms’ “Til I Hear It From You.” Mike Sumner especially shines on the cut with his rollicking banjo. She also puts her unique spin on Charley Pride’s hit “I’m So Afraid Of Loving You Again,” which included the stellar twin-fiddle work of Mike Cleveland and Brandon Goodman. Goodman helped shape a soul-stirring rendition of “Sweet Hour Of Prayer,” the first song that Dale Ann ever sang in public.
This was the first CD that she ever produced, and she obviously proved that she knows what she’s doing in the control room, too. There’s not a so-so song in this 12-pack of bluegrass songs. Harmony from Tina Adair, Kim Fox, and Ronnie and Garnett Bowman made Dale Ann’s vocals shine even more, which I didn’t think was possible. Jim Lauderdale added his vocal styling to “Hard Lesson Road.” Two of Dale’s bandmates, reigning IBMA Dobro Player Of The Year Phil Leadbetter and bassist Tim Dishman also brought their talents into the studio along with Steve Thomas on guitar/mandolin and Craig Nelson on bowed bass. The only negative about the CD is when the last note is played, you want to hear much more. (Pinecastle Records, 5000 Old Buncombe Rd., Ste. 27-242, Greenville, SC 29617, www.pinecastlemusic.com.)BC