CD Review: Mary Rachel Nalley – Headed Back To Bowling Green


Headed Back To Bowling Green

Turkey In The Straw – Forty Miles From Poplar
Bluff – Headed Back To Bowling Green – Just Another Man – Peacock Rag –
Tennessee Flat Top Box – Faded Love – I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In
Love With You – Down, Down, Down – My Old Kentucky Home – Tomorrow I’ll
Be Gone – Doing It By The Book – Washington County

Wow, if you like a ‘hot’ ‘Turkey In The Straw’ here it is.  It’s
fast, it’s bluegrass’ it’s hot.  I really enjoyed hearing the banjo and
acoustic guitar keep up with the tempo Mary set at the beginning of
this song.  If you like old-time fiddle, this is it.  If you like good
bluegrass fiddle, this is it.  If you like traditional country fiddle
this is it.  What’s more, Mary Nalley has the perfect voice for
bluegrass music, and those songs she sings as the lead vocalist is quite
remarkable.  I can understand why she chose “Headed Back To Bowling
Green” as the main song and title of the album.  Perfect female voice
and good harmony from her pickers.  Kody Norris is a friend, he was on
the LeMars National Old Time Music Festival in 2017.  Here he is playing
guitar, high string guitar, resonator mandolin, and regular mandolin;
Tom Isaacs on banjo and twin fiddle on “Forty Miles From Poplar Bluff.”
Tim Norris on bass; Josiah Tyree on baritone vocals, and Tyler Wiseman
on Tenor vocals.  Even Buck Trent gets to do set on this terrific album
of super good traditional bluegrass. Buck Trent plays his electric banjo
on “Forty Miles From Poplar Bluff.”  Another guest is the amazing
fiddler Michael Cleveland who lays twin fiddles with Mary on “Peacock
Rag.”  Wow, Kenny Baker look out, this is fiddling at its very best. 
His ‘Washington County’ is well presented by Mary.  The very famous Joe
& Stacey Isaacs help make “Just Another Man” a terrific traditional
country song.  It’s all on this CD, one of the best new bluegrass ones
I’ve heard since I’ve been reviewing CD’s for Country Music News
International.  To get this kind of sound, and get it so incredibly
well, it requires a bit more than absolutely terrific musicians.  It
requires a master engineer in the studio, in this vivid project it’s Tim
Norris, who also played the bass.  Tim knows what ‘mix’ means, and he
did a wonderful job here.  He did it at the Castleford Studios in Boone,
North Carolina.  Perfect combination of talent, ‘ear’ and certainly
ability.  It’s all here in Mary Nalley’s CD.  Mary is also a Christian
and not afraid to inform us that she gives her ‘talent’ the gift she has
received to her Lord and Savior, who continues to bless her with the
ability to learn and the ability to take a hobby and make it a
profession.  I really really like this kind of musician and
entertainer.  The music ‘business’ as such is a super difficult one to
participate in and keep your principles alive and well.  Mary does this,
and she does it well.  I’m not sure what ‘kind’ of fiddle she plays but
I do know this.  Both the ‘highs’ and the ‘lows’ of the instrument she
plays are exactly where they need to be to make her ‘style’ of playing
absolutely beautiful….all the way through.  Her choice of material is
also one of her very precious ways to keep the ancient tones alive, as
Bill Monroe cautioned us all who like this music.  From Stephen Foster
to Rose Maddox, from Hank Williams to Johnny Cash, Mary has it all on
this delightful album. A first class presentation of the music that
matters.  Off this one goes to the Rural Roots Music Commission for
their CD of the Year award this year.  Get ready Mary.  By the way, my
favorite Kenny Baker song is “Windy City” take a listen to that one.  My
guess is you’ll have it down in no time.  Congratulations on a super
number-one album of America’s ‘real’ country music.  RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President, National Traditional Country Music Assn. for Country Music News International

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