TUSSEY MOUNTAIN MOONSHINERS
In the liner notes, the following recipe appears: “How to make SHINE. 5 parts songwriters, 6 parts acoustic instrumentation, and 3-part harmonies. Age ingredients 18 months on many stages. Take fermented sour mash to the stillhouse, add one condenser microphone, and boil. Do not over mix.”
The Tussey Mountain Moonshiners band from central Pennsylvania won the 2010 DelFest Bluegrass Band Competition. Bandmembers include Marc “Slim” Prave on bass (aka The Thumper), Stephen “Buck” Buckalew (The Still Hand) on fiddle and mandolin, Gwen “Gdub” Stimely (The Bootlegger) on banjo, Stephen “Crawdaddy” Crawford (The Beer) on guitar, and Jeremiah “Groove” Tosten (The Stir Stick) on lead guitar, mandolin, and clawhammer banjo. Everybody sings and contributes original material. You can’t say these guys don’t have a sense of humor in the way they approach their music. It definitely sounds like a fun time is being had by all.
The album leads off with Stephen Crawford’s cleverly written “I’ll Be Your Johnny Cash (If You Will Be My June),” which incorporates a couple dozen song titles from the Man in Black within the lyrics. In “Somebody Else,” Gwen Stimely asks the Lord: Why, oh why do I have to be myself? / Just for today I’d rather be somebody else / Who doesn’t have to wear these shoes and make the same mistakes I do.
“Marching Through Sand” is a modern day soldier’s lament penned by Crawford who is dreaming of the harvest moon over his home in Pennsylvania. I’m half a world away / and I’m marching through sand. Stimely’s “Chicken Run” is a quick-paced, old-time tune that features the banjo. Gwen is the unlucky person who has to chase the chicken down for Sunday dinner. In the last verse, she imagines an angel with chicken wings chasing her around the clouds in Heaven, singing the same song.
Gwen’s love song “Ordinary Woman, Ordinary Man” is about a couple who are stuck like glue in love with each other for the long run: So we’d best figure out what we can / because there’s way too much to understand, for an ordinary woman and an ordinary man. Check out this band if you enjoy rambunctious, moonshine-themed humor and a foray into some new original bluegrass songs. If you go see them live, they may even come up with a nickname for you, too! (www.tusseymountainmoonshiners.com)NC