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THOMM JUTZ —CRAZY IF YOU LET IT (Mountain Fever Records)

ALBUM OF THE MONTH 

 

www.thommjutz.com

 

Multi-talented Thomm Jutz has made great strides in the world of bluegrass, with both the songs he’s written and played on (some recorded in his Nashville studio) and, or produced; among those to have contact with him you can list Nanci Griffith, Otis Gibbs, Irene Kelley, Mac Wiseman, Marty Stuart, Balsam Range, Terry Baucom and the Dukes Of Drive, Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice, and a man of whom many of you might not know but should, Jefferson Ross. It was with Ross as he played an excellent supporting role (Live at The Hillbilly Haiku) I first heard a song they wrote together “Confederate Jasmine”, and it also figures here. Jutz places his own stamp on this beautifully written and most descriptive piece. Great work boys! 

  

Jutz isn’t just your ordinary guitarist. He is the kind of guy who slots in alongside others, and invariably makes whatever he is involved in sound better. Jutz like his good friends Peter Cooper and Eric Brace he is a real team player, accolades, awards etc just happen to follow him around. Bluegrass nominations this year were particularly big. 

 

Jutz is more than a bluegrass act he is also a mighty storyteller, and as this album testifies he’s written a bunch of them too. Most of his songs are co-writes with friends Milan Miller and Andrea Zonn plus one each with Tammy Rogers, Charley Stefl, Craig Market, Irene Kelley and Jon Weisberger. It is a smart lovingly produced package. I have yet to mention the wonderful supportive picking from Mark Fain (bass), Sierra Hull (mandolin), Justin Moses (banjo, Dobro, fiddle, harmony vocals), Andrea Zonn and Tammy Rogers (fiddle, harmony vocals) plus Cooper / Brace harmony vocals on the songs “Sometimes What Glitters Is Gold” and “Lily Of The Day”. The artwork on the CD it too is top class, and with notes from Jutz you could not ask for more. It is a co-write with Zonn that open the album “Crazy If You Let It”, and with Zonn's harmony vocals and fiddle aided by wonderful acoustic guitar and stylish Dobro the album's title-track opens the record beautifully. 

 

On listening to “Run With The Horses” (written the day after the death of Dr. Ralph Stanley) I hear as the song opens a hint or two of the structure of Townes Van Zandt. Which isn’t such a big surprise, since the song possesses some blues colourings, and with banjo, Dobro and guitar all vying for a slot a wonderful injection of energy. Containing great beauty and grace you have his co-effort with Rogers, “Old Railroads” (Rogers both plays and sings on the track, nice work she does too, then again it is Tammy Rogers we are talking about), and there is even a trip over the pond to Ireland for his song “The Road To Galway”. He learnt the tune from the legendary Co. Clare whistle player Micho Russell. He follows the song with the superb “Lily Of The Day”, wrapped in fiddle and banjo the Market co-write is as good as it gets or you would expect. While in the sad-eyed tune “Atlanta (Please Don’t Let Me Down)” he has yet another ace up his sleeve. On ‘Lily…” his vocals remind me of a 1980s cum early, mid 1990s Dan Seals. “Atlanta (Please Don’t Let Me Down)” contains an aching blues edge as he speaks of how Nashville wore him out during the two short years he lived there, and how there is no dough in Knoxville, and how Memphis was never his kind of town. Which leaves him praying Atlanta wont let him down. Decorated in top class guitar work (fiddle, banjo etc) it is an outstanding recording. It is one of those songs that doesn’t take long to become embedded in your senses, so descriptive are his older styled lyrics. Master-class comes to mind.    

 

Closing the 12-track album you have the fine “It Was You”, but that isn’t before he’s lay down a bunch of mighty songs (not yet listed) set to stay with the listener for a very long time. Like with many great songs there's a few here that grown on you in time. Not least among they you have “The Coast Of Carolina” as he speaks of a storm. Storms at the moment in writing are of topical nature (Hurricane Irma); bluegrass traditionalist I expect will drool over the banjo, bass, and hotly picked acoustic guitar fashioned “White Water Train”.  

 

                                                             Maurice Hope    

Views: 160

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November 2017

1
JW Roy & The Royal Family
80 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,BH,RST,LK
2
Chris Hillman
79 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
BP,FS,HD
3
Turnpike Troubadours
46 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
HM,TK
4
Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton
36 pts.
Wildflower Blues
Cinquefoil Records
TJ
5
Eilen Jewell
34 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
 
6
Lucinda Williams
31 pts.
This Sweet Old World
Highway 20/Thirty Tigers
BR,MW
7
JD McPherson
29 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
JS
8
Mark Martyre
26 pts.
Rivers
Independent
FC
 
Tom Russell
26 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
SP
10
Anna Tivel
25 pts.
Small Believer
Fluff And Gravy Records
MG
 
Margo Price
25 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
JB
12
Fred Wickham
22 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
RK
 
Joe Henry
22 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
HVB,PJ
 
Whitney Rose
22 pts.
Rule 62
Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers
 
15
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
HDB,JJ
 
Jim White
18 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
LM,SZ
 
Peter Gallway
18 pts.
Feels Like Religion
Gallway Bay Music
CVL,DHO
18
Thomm Jutz
17 pts.
Crazy If You Let It
Mountain Fever Records
 
19
Kris Delmhorst
16 pts.
The Wild
Blue Blade Records
 
20
Daniel Crabtree
15 pts.
In The Shadow Of His Wings
Independent
 
 
Jeremy Pinnell
15 pts.
Ties Of Blood And Affection
Sofaburn Records
 
 
Julien Baker
15 pts.
Turn Out The Lights
Matador
EZ
23
Amber Cross
14 pts.
Savage on the Downhill
Independent
 
 
Chris Blevins
14 pts.
Better than Alone
Horton Records
 
 
David Rawlings
14 pts.
Poor David's Almanack
Acony Records
 
 
Grainne Duffy
14 pts.
Where I Belong
Independent
GC,RW
 
Jeff Crosby
14 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records

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