Leaving is Believing
Although the title of this album suggests departure, when you start listening it feels like you’re arriving at a family cookout. The musicians are the well-seasoned burgers, brats and brisket and the notes of their instruments are flowing like cousin Joe’s famous apple wine. The songs are all the comfort food fixin’s you love, speaking to family tradition and the simple joys in life. After listening you’re left with that happy full feeling from the banquet of sound that Nashville alumni Ashby Frank has worked hard to provide us here.
A prodigy of mandolin from age ten, Ashby Frank was on stage with none other than Bill Monroe himself at the Bell Cove Club in Hendersonville, Tennessee. To accomplish that at only eleven years old is certainly a feat! By age sixteen he won first place at the MerleFest mandolin competition while releasing his first album First Crossing that very same year. To say that Frank hit the ground running would certainly be an understatement.
Although Ashby Frank is probably best known for his role in the group Mountain Heart, he’s certainly been around the musical block in Nashville, Tennessee, where he moved back in early 2000. To list a few groups: John Cowan’s HercuLeons, Earls of Leicester and Special Consensus are just a few of the folks he’s played with. His songwriting certainly deserves honorable mention as well, with such song as “Midnight Highway” and “Jump On It.” He’s also written for numerous other artists, including Junior Sisk, Amanda Cook and Lindley Creek. Ashby also dabbled in comedy with the Darrel Brothers, showing true range as an artist.
There’s definitely a huge spread on this album, with Josh Hunt on drums, Travis Anderson on bass, Seth Taylor on guitar and a slew of other artists playing the traditional bluegrass accouterment. Frank is the piece de resistance, offering a complexity of flavors ranging from the lighthearted “Paintball Gun” to the touching cover of Bruce Hornsby’s “Every Little Kiss.” You’ll certainly get your bluegrass fix with this album, and then some!