Instrumental workhorses

Once Upon A Road (Pinecastle)

Nothin' Fancy

By Bob Mitchell

Nothin' Fancy is a hard-working bunch. From the opening mandolin intro to the last note on the project, the workhorse and moving force behind this Shenandoah Valley band is Mike Andes -- his lead vocals, mandolin and guitar work are commanding.

Nothin' Fancy is also instrumentally strong. That fact is especially evident in an impressive up-tempo tune called "Graveltown Road," which features exceptional mandolin and fiddle working unison. One of the best cuts and the vocal highlight on Once Upon a Road is a brisk arrangement of "When the Angels Take My Hand." Another strong track is the nifty cover of Johnny Bond's "I Wonder Where You Are Tonight" with a mix of western swing and straight-ahead bluegrass riding on outstanding fiddle and banjo work.

Other members of the group are: Gary Farris (tenor and guitar), Mitchell Davis (bass vocal and banjo), Tony Shorter (baritone and bass fiddle), and Chris Sexton (fiddle), with guest appearances from Clay Hess on rhythm guitar, Jessie Wells on frailing banjo, and David Kazee on piano. All deserve kudos for backing up Andes admirably, and helping this workhorse of a band to succeed.