Take Me Back
Billy Blue Records
Carolina Blue is an overnight success 13 years in the making.
This traditional bluegrass band has been around awhile and made some noise with their previous album, I Hear the Bluegrass Calling Me, but their newest release puts them among the strongest in the genre.
The dedication on Take Me Back tells the story: “This album in its entirety is dedicated to the preservation of bluegrass music and the father who created it, Bill Monroe.”
Eight of the 12 tunes are written by band members and there are already two radio hits with more sure to come.
Take Me Back takes classic themes and offers a new take. The band is known for suits and hats and a vintage look, but they are more than just sizzle, offering hot picking and clean vocals.
“Grown Cold,” written by guitarist and vocalist Bobby Powell and “Too Wet to Plow” are likely familiar, but the album is solid top to bottom. Powell also penned “Number 73987” and “Raining in Roanoke.” Timmy Jones (mandolin/vocals) wrote five others, including “Ballad of Mary Ann” and the fantastic gospel “March Around Jericho.”
Rounding out the sound is fiddler Aynsley Porchak, who seems destined for the IBMA awards stage; James McDowell (banjo/vocals) and Reese Combs (bass/vocals).
Monroe himself would have been proud of this collection that maintains tradition without trying to copy and sets its own pace.