Raised in North Carolina in the USA, Heather Bristow prior to relocating to the UK, where in her adopted county of Bath in Gloucestershire she gained a master’s degree in poetry from the Spa University. On combining her poet talent with a love for the sparse, folk and bluegrass world, Bristow in the company of a wonderful set of musicians decorates the album with her self-penned songs in stylish fashion. Having during her youth learnt to sing harmonies at family jam sessions listening to records by the likes of Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton, the effortless fashion of the art comes across perfectly —not least the harmonic tones of them.
Hope On The Vine is a carefully made album where less often means more. Heather likewise, is a master when it comes to pressing on in traditional, forceful bluegrass and old-timey style. As sampled on the lilting claw-hammer banjo, fiddle warmed ‘I Can Hear Those Hills’ that has the fiddle tune ‘The Spotted Pony’ tagged to it. For her songwriting attributes you need look no further than ‘Who‘s Gonna Tend Your Grave?’ that was unintentionally written on the 10th anniversary of her father’s death, and with its sweet sounding harmony vocals, mandolin, acoustic guitar and general soothing ambiance it ranks high among the list of intelligent songwriting by of not only of her own repertoire but others too!
Producer Ben Winship does an excellent job and, he also stars playing guitars, mandola, mandolin and harmony vocals alongside Brian Wicklund (fiddle), John Lowell on guitar and duet vocalist —who sings great on the Dobro, mandolin, guitar, and bass accompanied ‘Lonesome Lullaby’ and likewise on Dobro in the mix a lively ‘That Train Won’t Run’ it too has a wonderful feel to it. There are others too of note that cement a warm resonance as Bristow’s delightful vocals ramble uninhibited, plus as a bonus, there is the novel and most interesting bonus track where the lady speaks of how her love of the music and musical acumen has grown.
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