THE SPINNEY BROTHERS, TRIED & TRUE
Mountain Fever Records
By now, listeners pretty much know what to expect from a Spinney Brothers recording. The brothers have found what works, and they adhere to it, refining and improving when need be, but largely following in the groove that got them where they are. Hence the title.
Tried & True has a wealth of good songs done well. Not a one is drawn from the bluegrass standards, nor are they all that old. They just sound familiar and classic, drawing on that late 1950s through the 1960s sound in which country and western blended seemlessly into the mix. Allen and Rick each contribute an original, each about as poignant as they come. Allen’s “She Doesn’t Mourn Anymore,” written with Paula Breedlove, portrays a widow who, as she’s aged, lives more with her memories as reality. It’s about as modern as the Spinneys get, featuring some rippling arpeggio guitar work. By contrast, Rick’s “Proud To Be Your Dad” is a heartfelt look at adoption.
Equally sentimental is “Sweet Hazel Moore.” If you think of Bill Harrell’s style, you can imagine what this sounds like. Harrell never recorded it, but the song’s heart-on-the-sleeve, parlor-esque approach is similar to those he did record. And the Spinneys have put their own touch to that style perfectly.
Opening the recording is “Thank God For The Highways,” a gently loping on-the-road song done to good effect. Pete Goble and Leroy Drumm wrote that one, and also the pleasing country bouncer “How Much I’m Missing You.” Both are highlights. So, too, the gospel tune “The Mirror,” which offers one of the more unique story twists and centers on a mysterious note sent to church members reporting the death of the entire congregation. As Spinney Brothers recordings go, this is more of the same, but that same, of course, is what makes them so popular. (Mountain Fever Records, 1177 Alum Ridge Rd., Willis VA 24380, www.mountainfever.com.)BW