Monday, January 11, 2016

CD: BOBBY ATKINS & THE COUNTRYMEN - This "IS" Bluegrass

BOBBY ATKINS & THE COUNTRYMEN
This "IS" Bluegrass
Sourwood Mountain - Shackles & Chains - Going Back To Old Kentucky - It's A Sin - Jumbaliah - When I Stop Dreamin' - One Has My Name - Let Your Brown Eyes Smile At Me - I'm So Sorry - Durham's Bull - Mockingbird Hill - Jesus Answers My Prayers - Ballad of Henry Lowery - Rhythm Of The Falling Rain - Lonesome 77203
 
I've known, and listened to, Bobby Atkins for a lot of years.  This old Kentucky boy is one of the few authentic traditional bluegrassers left in the eastern part of America. He played banjo for Bill Monroe in the 60's, and has been a totally dedicated authentic bluegrass recording artist and performer ever since, dedicating his entire music life to the music Monroe handed down to all the musicians that worked for him.  This album is a sincere presentation of that same music, just as Monroe played and taught it.  The best part is the amazing dedication and ability Bobby Atkins has in keeping it 'right.'  I believe some of his own family are participating musicians in this project, but he doesn't say that.  Just the same, this really 'is' bluegrass as it sounded in the past, and as it should today, and in most cases, that is the case.  The big difference is that Bobby Atkins is able to keep the sound fresh, interesting, stylized, and certainly dedicated.  His ability to play the banjo in the traditional bluegrass style also prompted him to work with none other than Flatt & Scruggs.  That's saying quite a lot about a musicians ability.  The selections of songs on this album also reflect that.  Bobby is so real, his spelling isn't always correct, I loved the way he spelled "Jambaliah" but that makes no difference to the sound, it's there, it's real, and it 'is' bluegrass.  It's also an instrumental, so maybe that accounts for the difference in spelling.  I like his "Let Your Brown Eyes Smile At Me" done in this style of traditional music.  It just seems so much more 'real' to me.  Not sure who the mandolin and fiddle is on this number, but they are both super good.  It's Bobby's voice and banjo that stands out, just like it should.  Music is a remarkable 'art' and I have found in my lifetime, even though this plaintive very real music has been sneered at, joked about, discriminated against (oh don't get me started there with what ASCAP did to this music in it's birthing years), jeered at, rejected, and pitied, it's still AMERICA'S music, and nothing can change that.  I'm like Bobby Atkins.  Just as soon as I get a good track of a good song down, I keep it.  Just like that.  Can't be changed.  Thank you Bobby Atkins for being Bobby Atkins, there will never be another like you, especially in bluegrass music.  I'm going to send this along to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their listening, and as in the past I'm pretty sure they will pick your CD for awards, but just in the past you probably can't make it to the ceremonies, but that doesn't stop me from trying.
MUSIC REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - www.ntcma.net 
for Country Music News International Magazine
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