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Pine Mountain Railroad
Alone With Forever

Review By Steven Stone
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  In our modern world everything is at our fingertips. Anyone with access to the Internet can instantly listen to original recordings by Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, Stanley Brothers, Osborne Brothers, Red Foley, or Doc Boggs. For new bands this plethora of original material means that to grab fans you must, in Hemmingway's words, "Beat dead guys at their own game." Pine Mountain Railroad does just that. They deliver "authentic" bluegrass music that would make even Bill Monroe smile.

Alone With Forever is Pine Mountain Railroad's seventh release. This six-piece band consists of Cody Shuler on mandolin and vocals, Bill McBee on bass and vocals, Matt Flake on fiddle and vocals, Mark Cable on guitar and vocals, Eli Johnson on guitar and vocals, and Elmer Burchett Jr. on banjo and vocals. Cody Shuler not only serves as the band's manager, but also wrote or co-wrote five of the eleven songs on the CD. You'll notice that everyone in the band can and does sing. Vocals with multiple harmony parts make up a big part of the Pine Mountain sound. And they don't go for the easy baritone parts either, but often add a high baritone over the tenor part. That's up in nosebleed altitude; true high lonesome harmonies. The opening cut, "Clementine" by Cody Shuler, demonstrates this "stacked harmony" with Mark Cable singing a high lead over Cody Shuler's tenor. Along with their spot-on harmonies Pine Mountain Railroad delivers great instrumental breaks. Cody Shuler's mandolin, Matt Flake's fiddle, and Elmer Burchett Jr's banjo handle most of the solos duties. Every note is right where it should be.

Bluegrass purists, who bemoan the miscegenation of the form by the evil influences of jazz, swing, old time, and rock and roll, will love Alone With Forever. Pine Mountain Railroad even has a food sponsor just like Flatt and Scruggs did.  Instead of some wussy ‘ol white flour, Pine Mountain Railroad sings the praises of Odom's Tennessee Pride Sausage. You can't get any more old school than that.

 

 

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