Album Review of
Bluegrass Troubadour

Label: Pinecastle

Genres: Bluegrass, Religious

Styles: Contemporary Bluegrass, Traditional Bluegrass, Gospel Bluegrass

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Written by Joe Ross
April 27, 2021 - 12:48am EDT
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Danny Paisley hails from Landenburg, Penn., and followers of traditional bluegrass will certainly remember his father’s band -- Bob Paisley, Ted Lundy and the Southern Mountain Boys. As a child, Danny would sit in the center of their practice circle, taking in their rhythm section and vocal harmonies, and kindling a fire within that made him want to pursue a career in music. Ted Lundy passed in 1980, and the band became Bob Paisley & The Southern Grass. After Bob Paisley died in 2004, his son Danny assumed leadership of the band that continues to play “unadorned, intense traditional bluegrass.”

Since 2013, three highly-acclaimed albums on the Patuxent label have been released, and Danny Paisley has twice won IBMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year award in 2016 and 2020. Now associated with the Pinecastle label, the band is releasing Bluegrass Troubadour  to emphasize Paisley’s innate ability to simply take a song and sing it with emotion, sincerity and gusto. They tap material from the traditional canon (such as “Eat at the Welcome Table” and Charlie Poole’s “May I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight Mister”). Paisley loves taking old songs that have fallen by the wayside of listeners’ minds and breathing new life into them.

The band also has an enchanting repertoire of driving contemporary songs like Eric Gibson’s “I Never Was Too Much,” Robert Amos’ “Blink of an Eye,” and Brink Brinkman’s waltz-time “Date with an Angel.” While penned in more recent times, their approach holds true to unwavering, resolute traditional roots. A slower-tempo’ed “Long Black Limousine” is a sad, poignant tale of a life lost too early in a highway wreck. Ryan Paisley composed the snappy instrumental “Fancy Gap Runaway.” Playing as visceral a brand of music as anybody in bluegrass, Danny Paisely & The Southern Grass have raw energy and rustic purity. With no hybrid, genre-bending music from this Bluegrass Troubadour, the band gives us ten solid well composed and arranged songs that average about three minutes apiece. The album’s excellent songs, played and sung by exceptional traditional bluegrass musicians, are just over all too soon.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)