There is a reason why some country and bluegrass songs have endured and become favorites. There’s nothing wrong with collecting a couple of handfuls of them and giving the people what they want from time to time.
That’s what bluegrass veteran Junior Williams has delivered with Railroad Town, his first release for Mountain Fever records. The Kentucky native has blended songs made known by Lester Flatt, Don Williams, Del McCoury, Carter Stanley, Hank Williams Sr. and Sonny Osborne. To that, he added one public domain classic and a couple of cuts penned by songwriting powerhouses Thomm Jutz and Tim Stafford.
Williams’ career spans nearly 40 years and includes time with NewFound Road and NewTown and that experience shines in not only his banjo picking and vocals, but his song selection and choice of guests on the project.
Country and bluegrass fans will appreciate “I Feel the Blues Moving In,” “House of Gold,” “Sledd Ridin’” and “Worried Man Blues.” One of the most bluegrass voices ever, Junior Sisk, provides just the right touch on Stanley’s “Let Me Walk, Lord, By Your Side.” “Railroad Town Without a Train” and “For No Good Reason,” the Jutz/Stafford contributions, offer a sprinkle of the new.
Joining Williams on the album are Adam Steffey (mandolin), Aaron Ramsey and Jacob Burleson (guitar), Jeff Partin (dobro/bass/harmony vocals) and Nathan Aldridge (fiddle). Amanda Cook adds harmony on one track (“I Feel the Blues Moving In”), as does Zach Arnold on another (“Worried Man Blues).
Railroad Town is a fun ride and a reminder that when done well, the old never gets old.