DRY BRANCH FIRE SQUAD
ECHOES OF THE MOUNTAINS
During the last few years a number of changes have taken place regards the personnel since this enduring bluegrass band was formed in 1976. Led by founder member, Ron Thomason —mandolin, guitar, clawhammer banjo, percussion and vocals aided by Brian Aldridge, Tom Boyd and Dan Russell the material is diverse and the music as creative as it has ever been.
Thomason, an amazing story-teller and selector of songs not only goes to the work of Jimmy Martin, Larry Sparks and the likes of Martha Scanlan and a new song of a historic nature —David Messengill (Rider On An Orphan Train) but such lasting fare as Sam Cooke’s Bring It On Home, Seven Spanish Angels (Ray Charles / Willie Nelson) a solo performance of Walt Whitman’s O Captain! My Captain! That is not to forget the band’s vintage sounding a cappella version of the 19th century gospel piece Power In The Blood, and a slice of humour that as Ron says is ‘to cleanse the palette’ (You Got To Pray To The Lord) When You See Those Flying Saucers. Where with a typical bluegrass presentation possessing lots of driving upright bass, banjo and mandolin and tight vocal harmonies the best of the genre is demonstrated.
While all members do their bit, this album like a good many others made by the DBFS underline the American institution Thomason genuinely is. Who, is one of a relative few capable of delivering a fresh sounding version of Rovin’ Gambler and leave the listener hanging on to ever word of Echo Mountain as the story amidst fine bass, mandolin, dobro and seamless harmonies unravels.