Dave Adkins - Nothing to Lose
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Nothing to Lose (Mountain Home, 2014)

Dave Adkins

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

Dave Adkins is a bluegrass singer with a powerful voice. His self-composed "Put Some Grass In It" is dedicated to the world of bluegrass and tells his philosophy of the music while reciting a litany of bluegrass stars as comparisons to his style. Mentioning names like the Stanleys, Jimmy Martin and Bill Monroe will make this a crowd-pleaser.

Several tracks have strong country influences. "Pretty Little Liar," co-written by Adkins and Edgar Loudermilk, is the story of a man lured from his marriage by a woman who lead him astray while she was married, too. "I lost my wife and family, all because of one pretty little liar" is the plaint, though it takes two to tango. The singing duties are shared with Loudermilk who plays bass on the CD and, in the past few months, left IIIrd Tyme Out to team with Adkins to form a new group. Also from IIIrd Tyme Out, Wayne Benson sits in with the mandolin, and Justen Haynes plays fiddle. "Tennessee Whiskey" is familiar to country fans, the George Jones version reaching number two on the charts. Adkins' version is a good one and one of the blessings of bluegrass is full instrumental breaks like the one here. And "Silence Is Golden" is a song that will make a classic country fan stop in their tracks to listen.

He includes two gospel numbers. "I Can't Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand)" has been recorded as southern gospel, country and was one of Marty Raybon's selected numbers on the 2013 bluegrass circuit. It's a beautiful number and Adkins, with Loudermilk providing harmony, does a great job. "Don't Pray That Way" isn't overtly gospel, but it has a close theme. It's the story of a woman who is dying, but tells her family not to be bitter or ask for more time for her. "Don't pray that way" she tells them.

In Adkins' "Pike County Jail," the guy is in jail because he was a moonshiner and now he wants out to find a woman and start a family. The song drives with a solid beat, banjoist Jason Davis (who plays for Junior Sisk, another strong vocalist like Adkins) has a good break: this is good bluegrass. Sticking with the moonshine theme is "Moonshine In The Moonlight," the story of a man running 'shine at night while mama and the kids tend the garden and farm in the daylight. It takes you from the singer's childhood to old age, recalling times that were not too bad despite a life of hard work.

If you like good bluegrass, strong as day-old coffee and a big dollop of country added, Dave Adkins is your man.

CDs by Dave Adkins

Right or Wrong, 2018 Dave Adkins, 2016 Nothing to Lose, 2014

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