David Peterson, a bonafide purveyor of the bluegrass spirit, delivers just that in his latest work Losing Game. There are stories of heartbreak, the country life, and many other facets to this album. Within all those things we find Peterson giving a pure transmission of Monroe’s spirit paired with the essence Hank Williams, while the 1946 crew fleshes out the sound in the most traditional form. This work breaths, and is heady like a fine wine of orchestral, high octane music. It’s complex, and yet simple. It is brutally honest—nothing here can be faked. It takes time and dedication to make a record like this.
Jason Carter and Micheal Cleveland are ever present on Losing Game, keeping a locomotive of fiddle playing to Peterson’s command on guitar. Kent Blanton plays a mean stand up bass, except for three songs which feature Nate Stephens. Mandolin is tastefully played by Mickey Boles, who provides excellent backing tenor vocals to Peterson. Last but not least, you have the quick picking of banjo player Gabe Dettinger.
Peterson and 1946 are basically the Rolling Stones of the bluegrass world, successors to Bill Monroe who have been highly influenced by a great many other fine likeminded artists. You’ll here the Carter family’s “My Old Clinch Mountain,” Ernest Tubb’s “Are You Waiting Just For Me” and many more classics revisited with this crew.
I’ve recently also had the pleasure of reviewing Peterson and 1946’s Cup of Loneliness. I think it’s fair to say this album definitely has more of a get up and dance feel to it, where as Cup of Loneliness is a deep reflective thought record. Still the mood changes from waltz tunes, then to hoe downs, then to slow dancing with your loved one.
Overall it’s successful in conveying great emotion and that certainly makes it worth a listen. You’ll find there’s no end to these artists’ drive on tunes such as the instrumental “North Carolina Breakdown,” and no end to Petersons incredible range on songs like “Blue Darlin.” There’s not much more to say except if you’re looking for some proper bluegrass, look no further! Happy Listening.