DELTA REIGN, CALM BEFORE THE STORM
Mountain Fever Records
Being a big tent kind of guy, it’s always fun to hear the different influences found in bluegrass music. It’s a tradition that goes all the way back to Monroe absorbing the sounds of country blues guitarist and fiddler Arnold Schultz and more. Delta Reign is a band who brings a fun Western swing groove to their bluegrass sound, which is prevalent on their new album Calm Before The Storm. The members of Delta Reign include the Mobile, Ala., duo of Benita Murphy on guitar and lead vocals and Pat Murphy on banjo, Joshua Faul on bass and vocals, and George Mason on fiddle and vocals.
The album starts off with a version of Hank Williams’ “There’ll Be No Tear Drops Tonight” that Bob Wills would have appreciated. But this is more than just a Western swing party album, as the group thankfully breaks up the tempos and arrangements to flesh out other fare like the straight bluegrass sounds of “Don’t You Know,” “Calm Before The Storm,” and “A Hundred Years From Now.”
Other highlights include the jazzy and rhythmic “Wayfarin’,” a straight country blues approach applied to Cy Coben’s great song “Good Woman’s Love,” and an acoustic swing treatment of the traditional gospel number “Don’t You Hear Jerusalem Moan.” The group also does a fine rework of Steve Winwood’s & Blind Faith’s classic song “Can’t Find My Way Back Home.” The album ends with the bluegrass/swing hybrid “You Won’t Be Satisfied That Way,” which keeps the fun in the mix. The standout musician on these cuts by far is Arkansas fiddler and Branson, Mo., music scene veteran George Mason, as his licks are wonderful and swinging. (Mountain Fever Records, 1177 Alum Ridge Rd. NW, Willis, VA 24380, www.deltareign.com.)DH