STEVE THOMAS AND THE TIME MACHINE
Bonfire Recording Company
Thomas and company have made a strong recording of modern bluegrass. Part country-rock, a splash of classic country, and even some straight-up old-school bluegrass fill the tracks on this album. Thomas is in great form with his vocals and on fiddle, guitar, and mandolin. There are several guests on this project, most notably Del McCoury singing tenor on the title-track. The band is not above dressing up old favorites, such as “I Wonder Where You Are Tonight,” with some new chord changes and flashy harmony. Thomas penned four of the 12 tunes here, Guitarist Jason Owen wrote “Daddy’s Twin I-Beam” which he sings with the voice of experience.
The band comes charging out on this program, but really reach a boil on Monroe’s “Rocky Road Blues,” then they sway through the country shuffle of “My Heart Is Always Headed Back To You.” The band displays its versatility throughout the project, covering country, pop, and other styles with ease. Josh Matheny burns up the resonator guitar and Scott Vestal appears on a couple of cuts really nailing the banjo parts. “The Rat Race” is a funky rock-infused piece sans banjo. They close out the program with a fine reading of “We’ll Meet Again Sweetheart,” reminding us that they can flat-out get it when they turn to straight bluegrass.
The Time Machine is a highly versatile band that plays a range of ear-grabbing music. Thomas shines throughout the project while playing a wide range of instruments and singing each song for all it is worth. (www.stevethomasmusic.net)RCB