Black Music Matters Festival

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice

Heartaches and Dreams – 2010 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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Listen to Junior Sisk, on CD or in person, and you hear pure bluegrass from the first word. A veteran of several nationally-known bands and an experienced songwriter, this is the second CD for the rejuvenated Ramblers Choice band and easily keeps pace with their 2009 release.

The band and CD feature Junior's cousin Tim Massey as lead singer on several tracks, bass player and songwriter. He co-wrote Guns, Coins and Jewelry, a story of the heartbreak of love ended that's as good a description as you'll ever hear. Tom T. and Dixie Hall contribute a fast-paced Train Without a Track, and the band reaches back for an old Monroe number, Let The Light Shine Down that's hard driving bluegrass gospel at its best.

The title track was co-written by Junior and his father (Harry Sr.). According to Junior, his father is a prolific songwriter ,and this is a good one. From the heartfelt gospel of The Lowest Valley to a tongue-in-cheek description of the wild life (the driving A Black Hearse Following Me) to an old Lonesome Pine Fiddlers' tune (You Broke Your Promise) co-authored by LPF alums Curly Ray Cline and Paul Williams, Sisk keeps the promise of providing unadulterated bluegrass music.