Sunday, July 24, 2016

CD Review: New Roots Music Reigns "On Top Of Old Smoky" Along With The Coal Men And The Grahams

Arriving August 21st is the 23-song compilation "On Top Of Old Smoky: New Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music." It features new and previously unreleased songs by contemporary roots artists inspired by the work of Joseph S. Hall in the Great Smoky Mountains. Many of the songs on this release have become or used as the bases of nursery rhymes and lullabies. Beginning with "On Top Of Old Smoky," artist Carol Elizabeth Jones sings it accapella as you follow her every word of this familiar tale. Davit Holt brings in the classic country swing of "The Girl I Love Don't Pay Me No Mind" and Corbin Hayslett strums that banjo for the quick pace of "Something's Always Sure To Tickle Me." A couple of songs on this compilation that have stood the test of time are "Man Of Constant Sorrow" performed here by John Lilly and "Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad" by Amythyst Kiah with Roy Andrade. Dolly Parton, one of the biggest names in country music, sings the blues of "Little Rosewood Casket" as this song is very dear to her heart. The compilation closes with Dale Jett and Hello Stranger performing The Carter Family staple "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."

Included in this release is a 40-page booklet featuring an essay from Ted Olsen, professor of Appalachian Studies and Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies at East Tennessee State University. Also included are lyrics to every song along with a description of each song. To find out more about this newly released compilation "On Top Of Old Smoky: New Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music," please visit

From Nashville comes the latest from the roots-rock trio, The Coal Men titled "Pushed To The Side." It features a dozen tracks of truthful, honest music. Beginning with "Depreciate," you are swept up by the emotion poured into their music. The song sounds like it could have fit on Bruce Springsteen's "Devils And Dust" album. The country swagger of "Pushed To The Side" slowly reveals its storied lyrics as you hang onto every word. They pick the tempo up with the country-rocker "The Payoff" and bring in the blues of "Willy Jett," before returning the gentle folk appeal of "Travis." The album finishes with the rockabilly swing of "Speeding Like A Demon" and the tale of "The Singer (In Louisville)." To find out more about The Coal Men and their latest release "Pushed To The Side," please visit

The country-roots band The Grahams continue to roll out new items recorded from their career-defining album "Glory Bound." Originally released in April 2015, The Grahams created something special, bringing together their experiences of riding the rails and recording the songs they wrote based on their experiences and there to capture it all was film director Cody Dickinson (founding member of the North Mississippi All-Stars). The new documentary titled "Rattle The Hocks," shows footage of The Grahams, Doug and Alyssa, traveling to the heartlands of America, including Memphis and New Orleans, explaining their feelings of being honored to have this experience.

In between their stops, the film shows footage of the band recording in the studio with some of the greats including Luther Dickinson, Lucero, Duwayne Burnside and Alvin Youngblood Hart. The documentary features candid interviews and on the spot recordings that give an authenticity to their music. The whole short 30-minute documentary is a great addition to an already amazing album as The Grahams continue to deliver some of the greatest country-roots music of today. To find out more about "Rattle The Hocks," please visit

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