MICKEY GALYEAN & CULLEN’S BRIDGE
Rebel Records REB
In a time when so much sounds similar, it’s a joyous day when an album kicks your butt like its 1954, right from the fiddle kickoff on the first song. Songs From The Blue Ridgedoes precisely that for me. The veteran quartet delights with a polished version of the traditional hard bluegrass of northwestern North Carolina and southwestern Virginia. Like Galyean, the four grew up in the music, absorbing it deeply into their soul and being. Their music reflects that.
Galyean, on guitar and lead vocals as well as writing two of the songs, assembled the band following the 2010 passing of his dad to honor his music. His singing exemplifies powerful authenticity of bluegrass music coming straight from the heart. Playing bass and baritone in their dead-solid perfect trio, Brad Hiatt also played in Galyean’s previous band, Rich In Tradition. Rick Pardue, writer of two songs here, as well as the 2012 IBMA Song Of The Year, his backup banjo playing and right-on fills impress throughout in a display of using the five-string to make everyone sound better. Formerly of Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Billy Hawks fits in beautifully with his traditional fiddling, as featured on his original instrumental “Outback,” that often powers the songs.
Pardue’s “Candy In My Bluegrass” sums up the band’s style: Don’t put no candy in my bluegrass / I don’t want my whiskey watered down / Don’t give me no electrified baloney / I just want to hear that mountain sound. If you want the same, then Songs From The Blue Ridgeis just what you need. (Rebel Records, P.O. Box 7405, Charlottesville, VA 22906, www.rebelrecords.com.)AM