A Big Year and a Big Album

Love Hurts (Pinecastle)

Sally Jones

By Bob Mitchell

Two thousand and one was a year filled with significant events for Jones: She was an IBMA award winning vocalist for her involvement in "The Recorded Event of The Year, "Follow Me Back To The Fold" with Mark Newton; she had her first release on a major label; she was invited to a main stage act at IBMA and she married Chris Jones (Rebel recording artist).

And her new album, Love Hurts, is definitely not your typical bluegrass recording. Jones, who hails from Alberta, Canada, has a gentle voice filled with the freshness of a Canadian breeze. Her effortless grace is remarkable. While remaining committed to the fundamentals of bluegrass, she has given us an elegant and beautiful sound not usually associated with bluegrass. To obtain optimal benefit from this project, listen with someone special. If you are not in love when it begins, you will be in love when it finishes. And, speaking of love, this reviewer fell in love the banjo work of Kristin Scott-Benson. Her technique is clean and sophisticated. Her tone is impeccable. She is never overpowering, yet her presence is felt on every track.

The title track is a tasteful cover for a tune associated with the Osborne Brothers. "Saro" is a powerful poignant story about the pioneers who settled our country. "Heart of Virginia" is a sensitive yet driving cut with some exceptional mandolin chops from Wayne Benson. Jones wrote "I'll Keep This Love" a captivating waltz with some fine fiddle fills from Ron Stewart.

One of the more outstanding tracks is a heartfelt "Go Way From My Window" which features a harmony line from Allison Krauss. The centerpiece, however, is "Little White Lies." Not only is the cut from master songwriters Tom T and Dixie Hall but also contains a lovely harmony line from her husband, Chris Jones. "Little White Lies" is a perfectly constructed song with a perfect blending of voices. This track alone is worth the price of the recording. "Sipsey" is another showstopper.

This release clearly establishes Jones as a bluegrass balladeer and first-rate painter of songs. Quite a year, indeed.