THE CROWE BROTHERS, FORTY YEARS OLD
Mountain Fever Records
With the release of Forty Years Old, the Crowe Brothers, Josh and Wayne, do a nice job of straddling the line between country and bluegrass. Using bluegrass instrumentation (Wayne on bass, Josh on guitar, Steve Sutton on banjo and dojo, Brian Blaylock on mandolin, lead guitar and Weissenborn lap steel, and Travis Wetzel and David Johnson on fiddle), they have a blend of covers of country standards (“Lost Highway,” “Excuse Me, I Think I’ve Got A Heartache,” “Send Me The Pillow”) and songs that may be new to most listeners, with the majority of cuts leaning to the country end of the spectrum.
Veterans of forty years in the music business (many will remember their association with Raymond Fairchild), it’s no surprise that Josh and Wayne have a nice vocal blend that does well by both the country and bluegrass selections. Among the highlights are “Excuse Me,” “Send Me The Pillow,” a poignant “You Turned Forty Years Old” from Steve Watts, Tucker Smith’s Irish-flavored “Green Fields Of Erin,” the catchy “Livin’ In A Mobile Home” that some of the more serious festival goers will relate to, and Mike Dowling/Alan O’Bryant’s “Don’t Let Our Love Die.” Tom T. and the late Dixie Hall contribute a nice city vs. country “I’ve Got The Moon On My Side,” and Wayne Crowe penned the compelling original gospel number “Where Will You Be?”
The vocal work by the Crowes, lead and harmony, is consistently strong throughout the 12 cuts here, and there is a nice variety in the selection. The instrumental backing is very tasteful, with very good work on the mandolin by Blaylock and on fiddle by Wetzel and Johnson. Steve Sutton gives a great demo on how to fit a banjo into a country-oriented tune with his back-up and breaks on “Lost Highway,” “Excuse Me…,” and “Send Me The Pillow.” A very pleasing and listenable release, with strong vocals, a nice mix of tunes and very good instrumental support. (Mountain Fever Records, 1177 Alum Ridge Rd., Willis, VA 24380, www.mountainfever.com.)AW