CD Review: Nelson Family Bluegrass – The Little Boy With the Mandolin – by Bob Everhart for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show


The Little Boy With the Mandolin

On The Sunny Side – The Little Boy With The Mandolin – Who Will Watch
The Home Place – Bury Me Beneath The Willow – Forever Young – I’ve
Forgotten You – Red Rose Bouquet – Green Pastures – Stay – You Could Be

It is an
extreme pleasure to hear someone sing a Carter Family song like ‘Keep On
The Sunny Side” the way the Carters did it.  Mrs. ‘mom’ Nelson, I
believe, is taking the lead vocal on this opening song, and her lovely
sincere voice makes the song ‘real’ and exactly the message the Carters
wanted to share, as does Susan.  This incredible ‘rural’ group is from
Canada.  It’s remarkable to me that they have the early ‘impact’ of
rural music so close to their own hearts.  Bluegrass music itself is
going through a difficult time accepting all the ‘outside’ musical
genres into the bluegrass ‘sound.’  Progress never stops, as well known
so well, but it isn’t necessary to abandon the original methods, style,
sincerity, and honesty in the process.  Susan Nelson has a ‘just-right’
voice to sing these old-time standards that mean so much to so many. 
The theme song for this CD  “The Little Boy With The Mandolin” is self
composed by Susan and Charles, who plays the mandolin as well as singing
on it.  Super, a neat new way to honor someone you love.  Actually
Susan adds three more great original songs to this project, and every
one of them is a super listen.  The whole family are really wonderful
traditional pickers, Susan on acoustic guitar, Charles on mandolin, Sam
on bass and guitar, Pete Atkins on banjo, and R. J. Lickers on Dobro an
excellent picker, who really knows how the ancient sounds….sounded. 
What a pleasant experience to hear the old style of music done so well. 
They even included a Bob Dylan song ‘Forever Young’ that stands the
test of time, and the methodology the Nelsons use in their traditional
musical style.  young Charles takes many of the mandolin ‘leads’
introducing the songs, and does it marvelously.  He reminds me a great
deal of the young mandolin picker Jacob Austin from Texas.  It would be a
real pleasure to be sure, to bring these two young musicians together. 
Already have my fingers crossed this might happen at LeMars this year. 
Another thing I really like about this lovely family band is that they
are playing bluegrass music, but there is no ‘race’ to see who can do it
the fastest, which is happening in many of the eastern bands in
America.  ‘Speed’ is not necessarily an objective in good bluegrass
music, sometimes it can distinctly be a distraction.  Here is a fine
family band playing traditional bluegrass music with bluegrass
instruments, but it’s the song that is their basic objective.  Playing
any of these lovely songs too fast would only distract from the message
of the song.  It’s not too late to submit a CD to the Rural Roots Music
Commission for their CD of the Year awards, and I shall do that,
especially since they didn’t get a lot of bluegrass CD’s submitted this
year.  Off it goes, along with our best wishes to the Nelson Family, and
the hope that they might be in a traveling mood come LeMars Festival
time (August 27-September 2, 2018). RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President, National Traditional Country Music Association for Country Music News International

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One Response

  1. Hello Bob. I would like to thank you for taking the time to listen to &review our cd. Charles, our youngest boy was so excited to read it ( he's 15 now ) & I'm sure it will inspire him ! He is now singing harmony & so is the banjo player. As a family, we have a lot of fun & we continue to inspire each other. Thank you. Sincerely, Susan Nelson

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