Passing the Torch

When Forever Rolls Around (Independent)
The Lovell Sisters Band

By Bob Mitchell

While enjoying the 2005 IBMA keynote dinner, each person at the table introduced himself or herself and I found myself sharing a meal with David Lovell and his delightful daughters Jessica, age 19, Megan, 16 and Rebecca, 14, collectively known as the Lovell Sisters Band. Their enthusiasm and love of bluegrass quickly became obvious.

A day later, I was wandering through a jamming area when my ears perked up and I found the sisters playing for a group of captivated fans. Since most readers of this review were probably not there, I'm happy to relate that it is possible to hear this accomplished trio on a dazzling, well-paced debut recording.

Jessica's tasteful fiddle glides through every cut, in particular "Along The Way." Her lead vocals are fresh and energetic, notably on "All You Have To Say." Rebecca's mandolin chops are first rate and provide much of the drive for the recording. I especially enjoyed her work on "Just A Promise," and "King Lear." Megan's guitar work is extraordinary. It was most satisfying on "Crying My Heart Out Over You," and "Lonesome Feeling."

The band's commitment to the professionalism and traditional bluegrass is unmistakable from the opening note to the last. Their vocals are honest and heartfelt especially on the title track, "Crying My Heart Out Over You," and "Along The Way." Harmony is the trademark of this hardworking group, particularly on a tasteful cover of the Goble-Lawson classic "Please Search Your Heart," as well as on Josh Miller's originals "Just A Promise" and "Along The Way." Miller also contributes phenomenal guitar and banjo work which is particularly noteworthy on other original tunes like "Just A Promise" and two romping instrumentals, "Epic of Gilgamesh," and "King Lear," both of which skirt the edges of contemporary bluegrass. Miller wrote five of the 10 tracks and co-wrote the lovely title track with Jessica. Andy Nall completes the band with his steady acoustic bass.

The Lovell Sisters won NPR's 2005 National Talent Competition on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion. Rebecca also won second place at the 2005 prestigious Winfield National Mandolin Contest. Given the right breaks, they have a long bright future in bluegrass. On a five-point scale of excellence, this release is a five.

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