What More Should I Say (Pinecastle)

Michelle Nixon

By Bob Mitchell

Last year, while wandering the exhibit halls at IBMA I heard many groups but one in particular knocked me out: Michelle Nixon and her phenomenal band, Drive. If ever a band had a perfect name, it is Nixon's. These men provide a power surge that is guaranteed to satisfy the most discriminating fan. Nixon and her band's love of traditional bluegrass is evident in every note and they translate their passion into a release that ranks with the best of 2005.

Nixon handles lyrics and melody with assurance and style. Her grace, authority, and energy provide the foundation for a recording that furnishes enjoyment from the fist note to the last. Her emerging talent as a songwriter is also apparent on two outstanding tracks, "Prisoner Of Your Love" and "Heart of Stone," both of which feature the extraordinary fiddle of Justin Haynes (who also contributes harmony vocals).

Some of the many high points include a blazing arrangement of "If It Ain't Love" powered by Jason Davis's rapid-fire banjo styling. Patrick Robertson's guitar work and vocal is also a driving force. (Additionally, Robertson takes the lead vocal on an excellent cover for Merle Haggard's "Ramblin' Fever" and he wrote two commendable songs, "What More Should I Say" and "I Know," a sublime gospel number.) Adam Seale's solid bass and Jamie Harper's commendable mandolin work anchor the poignant "Tree Of Hearts". Tight harmony is a trademark of Bluegrass and this project provides plenty of good harmony, especially on "Blue Kentucky Girl," "I Know" and "Leavin's Heavy On My Mind."

A bonus track, "We Must Have Been Out Of Our Minds," features the duo of Nixon and "Whispering" Bill Anderson.

In response to the project title's question, "What More Should I Say," this reviewer says, "Bluegrass just doesn't get any better. Get your copy today." On a five point scale of excellence, this release is a five plus.

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