Various Artists "Come See About Me: A Benefit for the IBMA Trust Fund"
Mountain Home Music Company
Single label, bluegrass compilations can be a hit or miss affair. This single disc set benefitting the fine work of the International Bluegrass Music Association Trust Fund-a group that does only good within the industry, and yet is still sniped at "off the record"-certainly has more positives going for it than negatives, although a few songs are considerably wimpy-arsed.
With opening with lines honoring those who came before: "Their hands have made the music, wooden boxes and some strings, bringing life to the melodies our lonesome voices sing-guitar, banjo, fiddle, a mandolin and bass-they put their trust in us now, a lifetime leap of faith"-sang so smoothly by Sideline's Bailey Coe, there is no doubt of the spirit with which this collection is offered: the bluegrass community needs to take care of their own. Written especially for the album by Mark Brinkman, the song is more than a little special.
With all musicians and Mountain Home donating their services, the only folks collecting royalties are the songwriters, a more-than-fair compromise for a set that isn't exactly going to contribute hundreds of thousands to the Trust Fund's coffers. All things being fair and equal, it should raise the profile of the Fund and generate a few bucks through airplay and-hopefully-physical sales.
Despite the song's rather obvious message, Balsam Range "We're All In This Together" comes across rather dramatically given the group's characteristically strong performance. Even more impressive is Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver's "All The Good Things We Could Do," a fine song with a not-so-subtle intent.
As they always do, Chris Jones & the Night Drivers nail their contribution, a Jones-Jon Weisberger minor key number of faith and hope entitled "Glimpse Of The Kingdom." The Grascals' choice of "Help" is rather on-the-nose, one supposes, but may find appeal with a segment of the bluegrass community and truly, fresh music from Terry Eldridge and the group is always welcome.
Expectedly, select songs are more than a bit sentimental. Darin & Brooke Aldridge's "Those Tears" and Love Canon's work-up of the Toy Story favorite "You've Got A Friend In Me" fit this category, alongside Donna Ulisse's "A Little Trust." Not my favorite approach, certainly.
The album closing "Come See About Me," a rather obscure Conway Twitty album track, features the vast majority of the mentioned vocal participants backed by Quicksilver, and is a fitting-and uplifting-song to wrap the album.
"Come See About Me: A Benefit for the IBMA Trust Fund" is a better-than-average bluegrass collection, and the cause it supports is certainly deserving of notice.