THE HOMESTEAD PICKERS
Ghost Chickens In The Sky - Dooley - House of Gold - Bib Overalls - Free Born Man - Fifty Miles of Elbow Room - Salty Dog - On My Father's Side - Saint Anne's Reel - Dixie Darlin' - Deputy Dalton - Gospel Medley
Going to the very successful theme park Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, is always a treat for me, I worked there for some 20 years or more, so it's a kind of homecoming for me, especially when I get to hear old-time country artists like the Homestead Pickers. Some of the pickers in this group have been performing at Silver Dollar City for over 40 years. That in itself is an incredible feat. My visit was to converse with some of the decision makers about inducting this band into America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame at LeMars, Iowa. But first I needed to spend some time listening 'live' to these great performers which was a most entertaining occasion. I didn't even ask for a free CD to review, I bought a couple on my own, and I was totally impressed with this particular CD recording they made. Just so you know, this is the group that Danny Eakin fronts with 4-string banjo, blues harmonica, and vocals. Dwight Murphy is on lead and rhythm guitar as well as vocals and you can hear him excel on "House of Gold." Same holds true for Greg Bailey who excels on fiddle in the same song. He also plays 5-string banjo, mandolin, and joins in vocals. My old friend, and the one I know best is Greg Becker who plays upright bass (boy does he play that bass just right for this kind of music) and harmonica. The way he plays the old French Harp is a style he developed himself, and it's right snappy, especially on "Bib Overalls." He also plays hammered dulcimer (what a delightful presentation of Saint Anne's Reel) and sings too. My favorite vocalist is Danny Eakin. He has a very special voice for this type of music and he's a solid presenter of the honesty, the sincerity, and the simplicity of this very very special American musical art form. They recorded this entertaining CD at the Stone County Recording Studio in Reavisville, Missouri under the direction of Greg Bailey, the gifted fiddler that also plays so well inside the group. I'm pretty sure when these guys sat down to talk 'mix' every single one of them had their own opinion of who gets more volume, who gets more leads, who gets more notice in the 'mix' but they did this one astonishingly well, the 'mix' is perfect. What a super way for anyone who likes good ole' American traditional and old-time country music. The label on the CD says the 12th track is a Gospel Medley which did not appear on my copy. I don't normally list a contact to the artist, but in this case I believe it would be a mistake not to. www.homesteadpickers.com will take you to them, and how to acquire their CDs for your own listening pleasure. It is my fondest desire to get these guys into America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame, but I will also submit this CD to the Rural Roots Music Commission to see what they think about a CD of the Year award.
REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - www.ntcma.net
for Country Music News International