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Springfield Exit

That Was Then – 2015 (Patuxent)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Springfield Exit

Springfield Exit brings together excellent and experienced bluegrass musicians. Their music is a pleasure to hear, well performed, well arranged. It's diverse, some tracks coming from other genre, but it's all done in ways that stay close to the models of bluegrass (Monroe, Martin, Lynn Morris, Jim & Jesse) that fans seem to accept and appreciate.

Bassist Marshall Wilborn, IBMA bass player of the year, composer, a former member of the Johnson Mountain Boys and the Lynn Morris Band (his wife), penned the title number. "That Was Then and This Is Now" is a swinging song about love with a walking bass line. It's sung by Linda Lay, recognized as a master artist in traditional singing and a former member of Appalachian Trail. She has a good and pleasant voice (some singers have a voice that's appreciated, but not very pleasant) and makes a good lead singer. Her husband, David Lay, plays guitar and adds vocals. "Some Old Day" (J.D. Crowe, Flatt & Scruggs) is a well known number in bluegrass while "Listen To Me Mother" isn't well known, but is a Monroe-type number featuring Tom Adams (IBMA banjo player of the year, a former Johnson Mountain Boy) on the banjo and David McLaughlin (another Johnson Mountain Boy) on the mandolin.

Some genre-jumping tracks done in bluegrass style are "Peaceful Easy Feeling" (The Eagles), "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" (Bob Dylan), "Till the Rivers All Run Dry" (Don Williams) and "Don't We All Have The Right" (Roger Miller) with Frank Solivan II singing harmony on the latter. These will be enjoyed by all except perhaps the staunchest bluegrass enthusiast. Even they won't find fault with Ola Belle Reed's "I've Endured," Buzz Busby's "Lonesome Wind" or the old number "Elkhorn Ridge" with twin banjos (clawhammer and Scruggs-style).

Excellent pickers and singers, good and diverse material. That's a formula for good listening, and Springfield Exit scores with this CD.