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Wildwood Valley Boys

Back Country Road – 2002 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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The Wildwood Valley Boys have been around several years, and their heritage is a rich one with links back to the Boys From Indiana. Several songs here were written by the Holt family: Tom, Tony, Anita and Aubrey.

This is great traditional bluegrass. Aubrey contributes a pair of songs and "My World's a Paradise" will evoke memories of youth faded for anyone over 40. They also touch on the world of the miner with a very good version of "Paradise," but "Black Dust Fever" goes a step farther, telling the miseries of a dying coal miner:"But the mines kept my family from starving to death." One reason bluegrass is strongly loved by its fans is the songs that touch on life's struggles, the happiness and tears.

Those themes of life's struggles are heard elsewhere. There's the rambler long gone from home on "The Long Valley" and "Shackles and Chains," but they don't forget good, hard driving songs as they close with "Heartbreakin' Devil." If you like your bluegrass the way Mr. Monroe did it, grab this.