Gary Brewer; Guitar (Copper Creek)
Gary Brewer

By Bob Mitchell

Gary Brewer is an advocate for acoustic bluegrass and traditional music. He was featured on the cover and in a four-page spread in the November 1995 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. His latest release is 52 minutes of instrumentals with help from Bill Monroe, Larry Sparks and Josh Graves. Norman Blake says Gary "does a great job" and that is clearly evident in a spectacular rendition of "The Old Brown Case."

Gary works hard in personal appearances to give his audience a quality program and he does the same thing with this recording. His playing is clean and smooth. He also surrounds himself with top-notch musicians who can provide unobtrusive background or step forward and take a brilliant solo.

Monroe wrote the opening cut ("Ozark Rag") and personally taught it to Gary with a request that he record it.

It is impossible to select one favorite but some of the more outstanding selections include: "Old Kentucky Blues," a tune written on Gary's guitar by Bill Monroe. This song is a treat for the ears and you will. smile as you hear Bill, Josh and Gary trade solos.

"Green Green Grass of Home," a perfect blending of guitar and fiddle. It is the most expressive cut on the project, due in no small part to the exceptional bow work of Ron Stewart.

"Touring With Monroe" is a Brewer original — WOW!.' These men know how to bring the best out of a tune. Gary plays a dazzling lead guitar and then adds a mean mandolin track using Monroe's instrument.

"Old Minor Joe Clark" is what bluegrass is all about and it has the flavor of another Monroe instrumental, "Jerusalem Ridge."

"Old Unlucky Devil," a bright fiddle tune that Brewer's grandpa played for over 80 years, and "Tom Rock Twist." a delightful new melody by Gary that could easily become a guitar standard.

The recording engineers did an exceptional job capturing the unique sounds of wood and strings. This is an album with vintage players and vintage instruments. Dale "Punch" Taylor provides a solid straightforward bass line. Ron Stewart is a bluegrass song's best friend as evidenced by his extraordinary talent on the fiddle, banjo, bass and mandolin. Alan Phelps' dobro, as usual, is tasteful and flawless. This one is a winner!