Flyinshoes Review

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www.nu-blu.com

In a classic tale of taking a lot of time and work to become an overnight success, North Carolina's Nu-Blu seem to be making waves in the American bluegrass scene with this long-nurtured album of material. Core members Daniel and Carolyn Routh are joined by banjo player Levi Austin, fiddler Greg Luck and mandolin player Kendall Gales. All of them are exemplary players, solidly in the bluegrass tradition and with Carolyn's clear, sweet voice they frequently sound like Allison Krauss at her most traditional.

There's just one instrumental amongst the dozen tracks - a version of Red Haired Boy - and the eleven songs come from a range of sources reflecting a desire to move forward within the genre. Bluegrass writer Mark Brinkman contributes the standout song for my money. 'Lonesome Mountain' is a nice combination of a great bluegrass tune and a lyric that is partly myth-making, yet at the same time rooted in real lives. Four songs come from the band members themselves and these are very much in the mould of Allison Krauss's own songwriting; 'Spin On A Red Brick Floor', from Nanci Griffith and Juice Newton's 'River of Love' are amongst the other songs covered and I guess this reflects the range of influences these guys have in making their own music. In other words, I don't expect they do a bluegrass version of Guns'n'Roses for an encore.

They've got a nice balance to their sound and Levi Austin's baritone voice adds some weight when he harmonises with Daniel and Carolyn. In best bluegrass tradition, every instrument gets a chance to shine and I particularly like it when Daniel's picking away at the lower strings on his guitar, it seems to give a bit of a welly to the sound. I'm curious about the fiddle sound. It sounds to me like old style mountain playing and frequently I think he's playing two strings together; I'm not sure if this is common in bluegrass bands but it's the thing that gives Nu-Blu a sound of their own to my ears. I'm probably completely wrong on that one so if anyone cares to enlighten me... Overall, they drive along really nicely - precise and fast - and any sort of bluegrass fan will welcome these new kids on the block.
John Davy


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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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