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

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) for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

1 comment:

  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!