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Cory Piatt

Daydreams – 2012 (Patuxent)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Cory Piatt

The mandolin is a mainstay of bluegrass and, given the vocals on this CD, that's the target market for Cory Piatt. He plays mandolin in the popular Kenny & Amanda Smith Band alongside his brother Owen (banjo, also appearing on this CD). As mandolinists go, you'll be hard-pressed to find someone better. Piatt is a member of that group of musicians that defy comparison of one better than the other except for personal preference.

His signature is on this CD, having composed six of the numbers. Land Rush, (co-composed with fiddler Bryan McDowell) is full of expression, a wandering melody that includes flatted-note progressions and trade-offs with other excellent musicians. Common denominators on many of the numbers are Jake Stargel (guitar; Mountain Heart, now Sierra Hull & Highway 111), McDowell (fiddle and guitars; Claire Lynch Band), Randy Kohrs (resophonic guitar), Scott Vestal (banjo) and Mark Schatz (bass; Claire Lynch band). Excellent musicians all, and joined by a variety of vocalists on some cuts.

Other instrumental numbers include Ashley's Reel, a happy number that let's you imagine a floor full of dancers enjoying it's repetitive lines. A Universal Truth (with Jim van Cleve on fiddle) is a more complex, jazzier number while Crossfire and Ride the Wild Turkey are blazingly fast, tests for all the musicians that they ably pass.

Interjected into the mix of instrumental numbers are four vocal songs. That's Just Jessie is a love song to a wife featuring Brandon Bostic. Sad Songs is a fast tempo lament about hearing too many sad songs. It features Ronnie Bowman (lead) with Bostic and Darren Beachley (harmony vocals) and Owen Piatt playing banjo. Good At Losing You and Poor Boy are both songs of lost love with Keith Garrett (The Boxcars), Bostic and Beachley.. While all four fit well into a bluegrass-oriented CD, none are Flatt & Scruggs traditional, but could easily be performed (with different instruments) by any of the young stars you'll see on CMT.

This is an impressive CD by an exceptionally talented young mandolinist and his equally talented friends.