One Step Away
Bluegrass newcomer Casey Penn mentions on Mountain Fever Records’ page that her solo debut album, One Step Away, is dedicated to the memory of her father, who she says lived a life of faith “one step away from heaven.”
It’s a sweet notion about a sweet project featuring original songwriting, clean vocals, and solid picking. Penn wrote or co-wrote five of the songs in the 12-cut lineup.
Perhaps the best is “Oceans,” which she co-wrote with Rodger King and which received honorable mention in the Hazel Dickens Songwriting Contest a few years back. A close second is “Journey to Providence,” co-written with one of bluegrass music’s most prolific current hitmakers, Thomm Jutz. Other writing contributors or co-contributors are Carl Jackson and Larry Cordle.
While the writing is top notch, Penn’s soulful, authentic vocals are what the album is all about. It doesn’t hurt that she’s backed at times by Cordle, Jackson and Jutz, and then joined by multi-instrumentalist Justin Moses, Tim Raybon, Mike Rogers and other notables from across bluegrass.
It’s a nice first effort that should get Penn airtime and on plenty of festival lineups. It’s an effort worth spending some time checking out.