Where To Begin? By Smiling

Always Never Enough (Rebel)
Kenny & Amanda Smith Band

By Bob Mitchell

This project is so good, it's difficult to know where and how to start a review. Let's try this: Good bluegrass always makes me smile and I smiled a lot as I listened to this recording.

Why? The vocals are heartfelt and honest. The harmony lines are so tight a blade of grass would not fit in the space between the notes. Each member of the band makes a solid contribution. Musical support is always right on the money. In short, the Kenny and Amanda Smith Band provide a satisfying joyful celebration of this unique brand of American music.

Seven lead vocals belong to Amanda and her work is especially noteworthy on the title cut, "Why Do You Do What You Do," and "Dig A Little Deeper." Her guitarist husband Kenny supplies some of the finest guitar work that can be heard today.

After listening to "Our Last Goodbye," "Young Heart" and "A Thousand Miles Ago" it's easy to understand why he's a two time winner of the IBMA guitarist of the year. Steve Huber not only makes first-rate banjos but also he is a first rate player. As I've noted in other reviews, his flathead tone ring is the "one ring to rule them all." Listen and be amazed to "Going Across The Sea," "Danbury Jail," and Going By Again." The biggest and most pleasant surprise was the contribution of Jason Robertson and Alan Bartram. Robertson's killer mandolin chops and Bartram's rock solid bass line are the underpinning for each track. I especially enjoyed Robertson on "Gulf Stream Dreaming," and "She's On My Mind," and Bartram on "Our Last Goodbye," and "A Thousand Miles Ago."

On a five-point scale of excellence, this release is a five.