The Steep Canyon Rangers have championed what has become known as the Carolina sound for well over 20 years. On Morning Shift, the group’s 14th studio album, they continue doing what they do best…crafting songs around stories. This is the first album since founding member guitarist/vocalist Woody Platt decided to step away to spend more time closer to home. While his departure marks a new chapter for the band, with the addition of award-winning singer-songwriter Aaron Burdett the new album has them blazing new trails.
From the opening song “Hominy Valley”, written by banjo player Graham Sharp, the listener is pulled into a toe-tapping history lesson about his neighborhood being cursed because of the killing of a Cherokee scout following the Revolutionary Force as they moved through the area. On “Deep End” written and sung by Aaron Burdett we are treated to a straight-ahead up-tempo bluegrass number about a guy not afraid of taking chances. The group includes a moving cover of Robbie Fulks’ song “Fare Thee Well, Carolina Gals” that is sung with conviction and has a classic chorus that is sure to have you singing along. Tipping their hats to the tradition of old-time and bluegrass gospel quartets on “Above My Burdens” the group performs a number that sounds like an old standard.
Morning Shift is album that is all killer…no filler. The Steep Canyon Rangers have done it once again. They have recorded an album that is firing on all cylinders. Captivating songs supported by first rate musicianship. The Steep Canyon Rangers and Morning Shift …Americana at its best.