Sep 012020
 
songs of summer 2020

We’re back! After a summer away on paternity leave (can a blog take paternity leave? well, we did), County Tracks returns with a supersized roundup of everything that went on while we were away.

This is, as always, “we” in the proverbial sense. It’s really just me, Ray Padgett. And I have my second book out this week! It’s about music, of course. Specifically the history of tribute albums, as told through the fascinating story of one in particular (1991’s I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen – which, even if you don’t realize it, is the reason you know the song “Hallelujah”). It’s in the great 33 1/3 series of small books on specific albums. Hope you’ll check it out! Preorder links and more info over here.

Now, onto the music…

Abby Sherman Band – The Road


“The Road” is the first song on Bandcamp that Vermont singer-songwriter Abby Sherman has billed as being by the “Abby Sherman Band.” A minuscule rebranding, but one that feels significant. Whereas her best song last year was a stripped-down dirge, “The Road” features a muscular alt-country backing group giving her melody some heft. Special props to whoever played the country-Mark-Knopfler guitar solo. Continue reading »

May 162017
 

The Bluegrass Gospel Project has been playing around Vermont for 16 years, over time becoming a lot more bluegrass than they are gospel. On their new and final album Delivered, they dig deep into their secular repertoire for some surprising covers.

Some of the songs’ origins won’t surprise anyone who listens to roots music: The Steeldrivers, Patty Griffin, Buddy and Julie Miller. But on others, they reach a little further outside the standard bluegrass repertoire.

Recorded live, Delivered dips deep into the well of country music – and not old-time country that would appease any bluegrass fan, but modern, Nashville-slick country from Miranda Lambert (“Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go”) and Alan Jackson (a gorgeous a cappella “Precious Memories”). They cover Los Lobos’ “Down On the Riverbed,” which in their hands sounds like a folk standard passed down for generations. Best of all is a revelatory bluegrass take on Jimmy Cliff’s iconic “Many Rivers to Cross,” which singer Colby Crehan imbues with a world of heartache. Continue reading »