FreeWheelin' Music Safari


Hot Rize – When I’m Free

Note to Hot Rize: 24 yrs between albums is too long!!

When I started to listen to a lot of music and collecting CDs, thanks to the used CD bins at Tunes in Marlton, in the early 2000s,  I found the music of Tim O’Brien, an amazing multi-instrumentalist and singer.  I also discovered the music of guitarist Charles Sawtelle. It took a while before I stumbled upon a great bluegrass album So Long a Journey (2002)  from the band Hot Rize. I discovered that both O’Brien and Sawtelle were members of the band, along with  Pete Wernick, and Nick Forster. Subsequently, I discovered that the album was a live album that had been recorded in 1996 and was a reunion album of  the band, that had retired in 1990. In 1990, the members had parted ways and went on to have distinguished solo careers. From their biography at the band’s website.

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“Into the Morning” with the progressive bluegrass of Greensky Bluegrass – “Demons”

One of the albums that has been in my rotation since it’s release last week, is If Sorrow Swims from Greensky Bluegrass. GreenskyIf Sorrow Swims Bluegrass is one of my favorite progressive bluegrass bands. I discovered their music a few years back and loved the album Live at Bells,  on that album the band really displays their musicianship. I liked their last album Handguns, but not as much as the earlier albums. If Sorrow Swims reminds me more of their earlier albums. Here’s a statement from the band’s website about the band…

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High Marks for The High 48s’ Great Northern Railroad – Check them out!!

Yesterday, I was reviewing the Roots Music Bluegrass Chart and way down near the bottom, I came across a band whose

Great norhern Railroad 2name  was unfamiliar with, The High 48s. Their latest release Great Northern Railroad was fittingly #48 on the chart. Since the album obviously had a train song on it, I thought it would be a good album to check out!! So I headed over to Spotify, found the album, listened to a few of the songs, and since my foot hadn’t stopped tapping since the album began, I knew this one was a winner!!

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Lunchtime Music from Molasses Creek “An Island Out of Time”

The other band that I’ve been listening to over the last few days is Molasses Creek and their new album An Island Out of Time.  The island in question is Ocracoke Island, NC. which according to their website is:

Only accessible by ferry, Ocracoke is an enchanting step out of modern times into a world of captivating natural beauty, rich maritime history, ghostly shipwrecks, heroic lifesavers, crafty pirates, and a community of 900 independently minded residents.

 An Island Out of Time is  the twelfth albums they’ve recorded over the past 19 years. In April of 2012, An Island Out of Time  reached the #4 spot on the National Folk Radio DJ Charts! (It is now at number 61, which is where  I spotted it)

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Twang Tuesday – Loudermilk and Cumberland River Band!

So I’ve been listening to some good bluegrass over the last few days first from The Cumberland River Band and their latest album The Rock Island Express and today I added a couple of more bluegrass albums,  Edgar Loudermilk’s new album Roads Traveled and  Driftwood and their new album Stronger Every Day.

Edgar Loudermilk started playing  bass in his family’s band when he was nine years old and continued in the family band until he was 20, during that time he was exposed in some great music from his famous relatives, The Louvin Brothers. When he was 20 he joined the band Carolina Crossfire. Since that time he has played bass and sung tenor with Rhonda Vincent, Full Circle with Marty Raybon and since 2007 he has played with III Tyme Out. Roads Traveled is his first solo effort and is currently number 24 on the Roots Music Bluegrass Charts and the single “Can’t Live Life” which features a duet with his former boss Rhonda Vincent is 29 on the Bluegrass Music Profiles Top 30! Other friends who helped out on the album include:  Tim Crouch; fiddle, Randy Kohrs; Dobro, Scott Haas; banjo and former Full Circle band-mates Ashby Frank; mandolin and Shane Blackwell;guitar. The picking on the album is great as are Loudermilk’s vocals. Several other friends add vocal assistance. These friends include Marty Raybon, (duet on “Roads Traveled”), Cia Cherryholmes (duet on “It Just Might”), Rhonda Vincent (duet on “Can’t Live Life”), Russell Moore, Randy Kohrs and another former Full Circle band-mate, Glenn Harrell. I particularly liked both the duets with the women Loudermilk’s tenor blends nicely with both Cia on “It Just Might” and “Can’t Live Life” with Rhonda Vincent is just as great. All in all it was a great mix of good picking and singing and will get a lot of plays!

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Twang Tuesday – The Blackberry Bushes

So as I looked down the Folk DJ list of airplay for the month of October 2010 the group at number 25 (32nd Top Artist) caught my attention The Blackberry Bushes and their new release Little Bit of Grace. So I headed over to Rhapsody and downloaded the album onto the ZenV. Their music certainly fits in the Americana genre there music is high energy and infectious and certainly will set your toes a tapping. Here’s a description of their music from their Myspace page

Their music is progressive Americana “like someone threw a radio from yesteryear high into the treetops…” Their repertoire of original, bluegrass, and traditionally twisted music is infused with their love of indie, jazz, punk and alternative styles. They have been dubbed the “Mountain Divas” and Olympia’s “Sirens of Indiegrass”. They are Persephone and her sirens singing songs you have never heard but always known.

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Tuesday Powered by Bluegrass!

So I listened to a lot of bluegrass today. I started the day with XM Radio Bluegrass Junction and on the way to work I heard a song by Steve Gulley and I thought about the new album that I read about the day that he did with Tim Stafford. So I went to Rhapsody to look for it but they didn’t have it, actually,  I don’t know if it has even been released yet. Anyway they did have other albums so I listened to Tim Stafford’s album Endless Line and then Steve Gulley’s album Sounds Like Home. Both albums were very good listens from two of bluegrass’ best! Tim Stafford was a founding member of Blue Highway,  whose first album won  IBMA’s Album of the Year Award in 1996.  In the February 2010 edition of Acoustic Guitar magazine Endless Line was named one of the best Acoustic Guitar Albums of the last 20 years!  and says that Tim Stafford is  ‘…possibly the most influential guitarist in contemporary bluegrass.’. Other albums that were on the list that Tim appeared or worked on includes: Blue Highway’s Midnight Storm, Michelle Shocked’s  Arkansas Traveler, Alison Krauss’s Now That I’ve Found You,  and The Infamous Stringduster’s Fork in the Road.

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New Friends – Cornmeal!

So the other day, when I was looking up information about Great American Taxi I saw a new music chart at and on that chart at No4 was a band called Cornmeal and their new album Live in Chicago,Il., Vol.1. So I wentto Rhapsody to check them out. Rhapsody didn’t have have the new album but did have several others including their 2006 release Feet First.After the first few minutes of the first song “River Gap”, I knew I had another progressive bluegrass band to add to my growing list of new favorites!  These guys and gal are absolutely fantastic! The vocals are great, and the picking is some of the fastest and best I have ever heard! Here is some information about the band from their biography at their website:

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