Up and Coming Bluegrass From Ashland

Pig In A Pen (Independent)
Bottomline

By Bob Mitchell

One of the exciting elements of the International Bluegrass Music Association annual trade show and fan fest is an opportunity to hear new artists. Bands are everywhere: in exhibitor's booths, hotel suites and on the Showcase Stage. Unless a band is on stage, there can be so much music it is difficult to focus on one group, but it is a wonderful experience. However, while wandering through music-filled aisles, the sound of one band, Bottomline, stopped me cold in my tracks. They were having fun and playing in a way that would make Bill Monroe feel proud.

This group is based in Ashland, Kentucky and although their CD does not do them justice, it is a respectable debut release. Vocals are consistently solid but the instrumental work needs to be tightened for their next project. Make no mistake, they have what it takes and their abilities are clearly demonstrated on a blistering arrangement of Bill Monroe's classic, "Rawhide." Their a capella gospel numbers are also first rate, especially "Rock My Soul," and "Walking In Jerusalem." Two other favorite selections are "Rock Salt and Nails" and "Little Black Train." (Liner notes do not specify who is singing lead or harmony.)

The real surprise sneaks up on you and it had me laughing out loud. When "Rawhide" finishes, a listener hears the band making small talk about being satisfied with the session. They decide to go out for something to eat before they start editing the project and the studio door closes. Seconds later a listener hears the door open and the Hornbuckle Brothers wander into the studio. They discover that recording equipment has been inadvertently left on and see this as an opportunity to make their pitch to "big time producers."

For four comical minutes, the brothers talk of home and sing two songs in the style of Lester "Road Hog" Moran and The Cadillac Cowboys. Fearing the band will return, the brothers leave the studio. Seconds later the band returns and realize they left the recording equipment on. They also realize someone has used it but are not concerned because they know the additional tracks will be cut from the final edit. Very creative and funny!

For more information, visit www.bottomlinebluegrass.com

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Bottomline performs September 2, 4 and 5 at the Mandolin Farm Bluegrass Festival in Flemingsberg, Ky.