WILLARD GAYHEART & FRIENDS
Blue Hens Music
Within the southwestern Virginia and northwestern North Carolina old-time and bluegrass communities, Willard Gayheart is one of the best loved and most respected figures. Willard has gained such acclaim for his intricate drawings of people and places in central Appalachian music, that some folks forget that he is also a musician and songwriter. His granddaughter, Dori Freeman, herself a rising Americana artist, decided it was high time that he had an album of his own. The happy result is At Home In The Blue Ridge.
This album beautifully demonstrates how Appalachian music is not monolithic or even lithic. The recordings of these eleven songs, nine of them Willard’s own, resolutely refuse to fall neatly into old-time, bluegrass, or traditional county. They blend elements of each into what is Willard’s style. His album benefits from musicians who understand this. The standout is Willard’s son-in-law, Scott Freeman, deservedly among the most admired musicians in the area. His mandolin and fiddle playing fit perfectly. This is simply a delightful album that would please anyone who admires the tasteful, often understated, and organic confluence of styles. (www.bluehensmusic.com)AM