There is plenty of good new music coming down the pipe in a bluegrass world that is constantly flexing its muscles and frequently crossing genres. Then along comes Paul Kovac with a new, old, traditional, big sound. Yes, it’s hard to describe. Kovac has been recording since 1978, having played with Bill Monroe, Chubby Wise, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Dave Evans, and Hazel Dickens. He even made an instructional guitar video with Roy Clark.
Ohio Bluegrass: From the Appalachian Plateau, Vol. 1 gives a nod to the folks across the river in Kentucky and southern Ohio, but carves its own niche without a doubt. It is none of the above, but it is for sure influenced by all the aforementioned sounds, and most importantly, it can be called good music.
Kovac, who makes the banjo talk on Lester Flatt’s “I’ll Never Love Another,” plays banjo and guitar, and sings as well. David Mayfield joins on harmony vocals, mandolin, and guitar; Bill Lestock on fiddle; Ron Bonkowski on harmony vocals and guitar; and Kevin Johnson on bass and guitar. “In A Song,” “Some Things You Take to Your Grave,” “Climbin’ Up,” and Bill Anderson’s classic “The Lord Knows I’m Drinking” are not to be missed. Those are just the highlights. The album is well-ordered and a fun ride from start to finish. (www.paulkovac.com)MKB