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Creative, entertaining, novel and appealing
Posted by: RedOni from: Oregon on
Once could easily say that Blue Moon Rising has now risen! This lively Tennessee-based group formed over a decade ago, and they have worked hard appearing at noteworthy festivals and venues, touring and recording. Their success has been established with a healthy body of original material that reflects both traditional consciousness and contemporary innovativeness. Their fifth album, “Strange New World” is the band’s debut on the Rural Rhythm record label. It demonstrates how the Blue Moon Rising sound continues to evolve around the compelling vocals and strong guitar work of Chris West who cut his teeth on bluegrass as a former member of Coal Creek, The Pitney Seibers Family, One Way Track, and Roscoe Morgan and Lonely Train. Blue Moon Rising has experienced personnel changes over the years, and the rest of band’s stirring lineup currently includes Brandon Bostic (mandolin, vocals), Tony Mowell (bass, vocals), and Owen Piatt (banjo). Guest artists Tim Crouch (fiddle), Randy Kohrs (resophonic guitar), Shadd Cobb (banjo), Travis “Skunky” Gillespie (harmonica), and Dave Racine, Kenny Malone (percussion) provide tasty instrumental contributions to this album.
“Strange New World” offers a varied mix of new contemporary material. Chris West has a flair for songsmith, and wrote seven of the 13 songs. The other writers featured include Mike Dekle, Kevin Denney, Becky Buller, Jon Weisberger/Jeremy Garrett and Clint Wilson. You hear many disparate influences in Blue Moon Rising’s music, and they provide for nice contrast on a bluegrass-flavored project. The band’s traditional consciousness indicates a full understanding of Bill Monroe’s and the Stanley Brothers’ seminal music. For example, self-inflicted pain and misery is the theme for “Never Happy Till I’m Full of Sorrow,” a song that many of us can relate to when we’re experiencing exhilaration from a feeling of woe-is-me sadness. At the same time, it’s apparent that Blue Moon Rising is making their mark as innovative bluegrass ground-breakers with eclectic influences from folk, blues, singer-songwriter, gospel and country material. Will this hurt their creation of a “signature” sound? I don’t think so. This album offers plenty of highlights. Some personal favorites are Stone by Stone, My Sittin’ Window, Living Water, The Dust Bowl, Ain’t No Way, and He’s All Around Us.
This band’s growth, development and maturity are apparent in an absorbing sound that exudes flexibility, eccentricity, and their diversified influences. It‘s a sound that engrosses us and grabs our attention, and the album’s imaginative cover by Jason Jones includes images that relate to the songs. On “Strange New World,” Blue Moon Rising is creative, entertaining, novel and appealing. My only suggestion would’ve been that they close the album with “Time To Be Movin’ On” rather than lead off with that song. (Joe Ross, Roseburg, Or.)
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