Album Review of

Written by Joe Ross
January 31, 2018 - 12:00am EST
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Based out of Phoenix, Billy Parker is a very talented, adept musician with plenty of creative ideas to share. Parker refers to his eclectic mix of Bluegrass, Western Swing, Gypsy Jazz, Celtic and Americana as “Mandobilly Gravy.”   Parker has four decades of touring and recording under his belt. This is a testament to his ability as a consummate musician who really shines with a mandolin, octave mandolin or guitar in his hands. Of the 13 tracks, all but four are self-penned originals. While the instrumentals are his strength, Parker also offers three with vocals.

When listening to Mandoclectic, be prepared for considerable variety, tempo and genre transitions from track to track. Each piece capitalizes on the superb abilities of Parker’s 14 musical friends who contribute to the project. One can hardly go wrong with the likes of Nick Coventry, Michael Rolland, Peter McLaughlin and Evan Ward helping out. Depending on one’s tastes, every listener will discover different things to their liking on an album with so much variety. However, the mandolin’s full-bodied tone and clarity are always front and center. I particularly liked the bouncy “Fidget Hornpipe,” up-tempo “Dixon Town” and “Slip-Slidin’” and Gypsy-infused “Journey Waltz” and “Silly Jilly.” Or for something different, cue up “Cymylau (Clouds),” an original Celtic aire by flutist John Good that segues into some traditional Welsh melodies. For acoustic music fans with diverse tastes, this album is a real treat.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)