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CD Review: Nell & Jim Band – Steel – by Bob Everhart for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

NELL & JIM BAND

Steel

Shady Grove – Prayer – Dim In My Pocket – The Way
You Do – Red Clay Creek – Man at the Mill – Steel – Finisterre – Old
& In The Way – Pants – Meditation Blues – Speed Limit

Wow, haven’t heard a CD like this in a long long
time.  Amazing transitions from the very traditional to a very nice
modern look at old-time musical sounds.  Super good California band, Jim
Nunally, originally from Arkansas where he obviously has some of that
Ozark blood in his veins, is super on vocals, guitar, banjo; Nell
Robinson, has some of the same friends I do.  Ramblin’ Jack Elliott has
been with us a number of times and Michael Johnathon from Woodsongs a
super good friend.  Woody’s widow Marjorie was also a good friend of
mine,  Nell is on vocals (super good) mini-flute, piccolo; Rob Reich on
accordion, keyboard, glockenspiel; Jim Kerwin (he played for Grisman for
30 years) on bass fiddle, harmony; Jon Arkin on percussion and
harmony.  This groups incredible ‘understanding’ of songs telling a
story rests heavily on their very first one, Shady Grove.  In my
lifetime of music I’ve never heard a rendition so well done as this
one.  The tempo changes are remarkable on the opening two songs.  The
same ‘Nell & Jim” produced this masterpiece, along with a good man
on the board, John Cuniberti who KNOWS whose doing what.  Every song on
this recording has ‘equal’ attention. Sometimes that’s not so true in
the music business.  This CD is a prime example of what ‘real’ music is
all about. This is not a ‘robot’ imitation of the real deal.  This album
is without a doubt one of the best ‘traditional’ sounds I’ve heard in
recent years, and I’ve only been performing music for 70 years.  Nell
Robinson has a lovely voice, similar to Dolly Parton or Patsy Cline, but
perhaps a little more closer to the ‘real deal real folk’ sound.  Love
the guitar Jim Nunally is playing, don’t know the ‘name’ of it but think
it’s a Martin, but it sure is a wonderful addition to this wonderful
album.  I also really appreciated the inclusion of an accordion.  Golly
does that sound ‘traditional’ or not?  Yes of course it does, so does
the piccolo.  “Steel” is from the San Rafael, California, area, and if
this band this good, there must be some additional music makers that
also ‘like’ this kind of music interpretation in their neighborhood. 
Between Nell and Jim there are nine of their original songs on this
incredible adventure.  ALL of them are super good.  As I say that, I
must also say how impressed I am at their version of David Grisman’s
song “Old And In The Way.”   Really appreciate Nell’s mini-flute and the
accordion.  Well no wonder this song is so good, Jim Nunally worked
with Grisman for over 13 years, and Jim Kerwin also worked with Grisman,
for 30 years no less.  All of that Grisman aura and ‘soul’ abides in
their own beings. Well, this is quite a listening experience for someone
like myself who has adored and loved this music his entire life.  Yep,
I’m old and in the way, but I sure would hope that some day Jim could
hear one of my creations “She Sings Sad Songs.”  Off to the Rural Roots
Music Commission for this delightful entry.  They’re not doing anything
right now because of the coronavirus, but some day, SOME DAY, we might
get to share beautiful music like Nell’s and Jim’s

RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, PRES., National Traditional Country Music Assn., Inc. (since 1976)  www.music-savers.com for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

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One Response

  1. Thats a pretty good read I have had in a while BOB thank you so much. I hope to listen to Nell and Jim band upon your hearty recommendation! Thanks so much!

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