Album Review of
Six Degrees of Separation

Written by Joe Ross
November 12, 2021 - 2:58pm EST
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As a musician, songwriter, engineer/producer and luthier, Steve Wilson’s slogan is “Play. Write. Record. Build.” With stops in Nashville (to work at the Gibson Co.), upstate New York (to raise kids), and now back in South Carolina (to settle down in his “forever home”), Wilson fronts a band called the Wilson Banjo Co. that released their first album, Spirits in the Hills (Bonfire), in 2017. Wilson did a stint playing in Dale Ann Bradley’s band, and she appears singing harmony on “Just a Few More Miles.” Now associated with the Pinecastle label, Wilson Banjo Co.’s Six Degrees of Separation features several originals including their 2020 single, “Wrong Turn that Led Me to You.”

Because this album features over 30 musicians on various tracks, it’s a little unclear who exactly are Wilson Banjo Co. members, but it seems that Sarah Logan (lead and harmony vocals, fiddle), Richard Bennett (guitar) and Glen Crain (resophonic guitar, bass) are in the core group. Logan’s strong, steady voice is front and center on lovely pieces like “Long Hard Day,” “When the Crow Comes Down,” “Colors of My Life,” “Midnight on the Highway” and “Just a Few More Miles.” I understand that she’s been in East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass Program and joined Wilson Banjo Co. in 2016. Besides Logan, other lead vocalists featured are Shawn Lane (“The Ambassador”), Clay Hess (“She’s a Gambler”), Severin Theinert (singing his self-penned “Old Fashioned Ways”) and Colton Rudd (“Wrong Turn That Led Me to You.”) Steve Wilson currently plays banjo with the band, Deeper Shade of Blue, and members of that group appear on a few tracks.

Six Degrees of Separation is also a showcase for Wilson’s custom-made banjos, played on eight tracks by Steve himself, with “Issaqueena” being the only instrumental. Wilson banjos are heard on two tracks of “Long Hard Day” played by Tony Wray, and on one track apiece by Dale Perry and Gena Britt, “Just a Few More Miles” and “Autumn Leaves,” respectively.  As Steve is currently playing with Deeper Shade of Blue, Wilson Banjo Co. may now be more of a business model for Steve to simply “play, write, record and build” great bluegrass music with his close friends, crisp banjos and evocative songs. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)