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Spring Creek

Way Up on a Mountain – 2009 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Greg Yost

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Colorado has long been known for the abundance of talented bluegrass artists that have emerged from its borders. One of the state's hottest young bands, Spring Creek, is now taking its sound nationwide with its label debut. Although bands from the Centennial State have been known to stretch the definition of bluegrass with a very progressive style and sound, Spring Creek maintains a traditional footing throughout.

A group in the truest sense of the word, the four members equally contribute. Not only do Jessica Smith (bass fiddle), Chris Elliott (banjo), Alex Johnstone (mandolin) and Taylor Sims (guitar) all have songwriting credits, but each takes lead vocal duties on at least 1 of the 12 songs.

Produced by Jeff White and featuring nice fiddle accents from special guest contributor Michael Cleveland, "Way Up On A Mountain" offers something for fans of all bluegrass styles. The rousing My Love Is Way Up On A Mountain, sets the tone for the rest of the album and lets the listener know that this is not your run-of-the-mill bluegrass band. The momentum continues with the acerbic wit of Drivin' Me Crazy and Try And Catch The Wind, another memorable up-tempo number featuring lead vocals from Smith.

Additional highlights include a low-key cover of the Ricky Nelson classic Lonesome Town that showcases the band's harmony vocal prowess and Cuba Vera Swing, a banjo-driven instrumental that reveals the band's progressive side.

Spring Creek has received many accolades in its relatively short history and after listening to this, you will find that the praise is definitely warranted.