Jimmy Martin Songs For Dinner: A Musical Salute to the King of Bluegrass
Gary Brewer (Stretchgrass Recordings)

By Bob Mitchell

I lIKe iT. i like it. I LiKe It. No matter how you say it, "I LIKE IT!!" This project makes you feel good. And no wonder! The title cut was written by Dixie and Tom T. Hall and in addition, Brewer involved some great pickers and singers, specifically, J. D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson, Bobby Hicks, Larry Stephenson, Terry Eldredge and Art Stamper, to lend a hand. If that isn't enough, you also get songs from Freddie Hart, Jimmy Martin and Paul Williams.

I have four other Brewer recordings, but I never heard Gary have such a good time. You can feel the fun as you listen to "Milwaukee, Here I Come,""Sunny Side of the Mountain,""Tennessee" and, of course, "Jimmy Martin Songs For Dinner."

Every bluegrass release worth its salt contains a good gospel tune. And, friends, this CD has two of the finest Gospel tunes you are likely to hear. Gary and Larry Stephenson team up for a dynamite rendition of the Martin-Williams classic, "Stormy Waters." Larry's high tenor goes right to the heart of the piece. Later, Doyle Lawson joins Gary for "I Like To Hear 'Em Preach It." Both of these selections caused the hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end.

The project also contains sensitive renditions of the tearjerker, "Widow Maker," and a cry-in-your-beer favorite, "Drink Up and Go Home."

J. D. Crowe's banjo, Bobby Hicks' and Art Stamper's fiddles, and Larry Stephenson and Doyle Lawson's mandolins provide flawless solos and fills. J. D. and Doyle are former Sunny Mountain Boys, so they know how to convey that infectious musical enthusiasm for which Jimmy Martin is famous. Terry Eldredge's vocals and bass are also a welcome addition. The project was completed in three recording sessions, using a variety of outstanding musicians, all of whom made significant contributions. Other temporary members of the Kentucky Ramblers included Larry Beasley, Sam Harris and Terry Smith.

Gary's guitar work, as usual, is tasteful and solid. His respect for the King of Bluegrass is evident in every song. To paraphrase a line from "Mary Ann," there will always be a place in my heart for Jimmy Martin, thanks, in part, to this CD.

If you don't own a Gary Brewer recording, this is the one to start your collection. To obtain a copy contact LouisvilleMusicNews.com Records; 3705 Fairway Lane; Louisville. KY 40207; 1-502-893-9933 or Gary Brewer; 1907 Neville Dr; Louisville KY 40216; 1-502-448-9107; g.brewer5@gte.net