The Girls Can't Help It

Daughters Of Bluegrass (Blue Circle Records)

Various Artists

By Bob Mitchell

The opening track, "Go Back to the Well," says, "We're the daughters of bluegrass playing music that we love." Indeed they are and their efforts will make any mother proud. From the moment the laser hits the disc, seventeen women skillfully and tastefully wind their way through thirteen tracks that showcase phenomenal talent and commitment to traditional bluegrass. These women know how to deliver a song and, simply put, the recording is a delight to hear.

Several my favorite selections include Dale Ann Bradley's lead vocal and Vicki Simmons' harmony on "Homesick for the Hills" (by Dixie and Tom T. Hall), the "Prisoner Song" from Gena Britt, "Pocket Knives & Fiddle Tunes" wtih Valerie Smith, Becky Buller and Vickie Simmons and a poignant "Picture of Jesus (also by Dixie and Tom T. Hall) from Heather Berry and Jeanette Williams.

Just as the opening track makes a statement about women's role in bluegrass, so does the final track. Daughters contains a strong message, specifically, women can (like men) love and play bluegrass and that women deserve more recognition and acceptance. Michelle Nixon sings her heart out on an original "Grass Angels" co-written with Loni Kirklin. The song speaks of women's determination to keep their musical dreams alive in a "man's world." It correctly asserts that women bluegrassers are "working hard to beat all the odds in a world that's never been populated with the feminine touch" and goes on to say women are "deeply devoted ... full of spunk and steam ... and given a chance, can fly." They certainly fly on this recording. I've always believed women are equals in the bluegrass industry and this CD is proof that women have the talent and commitment. Daughters is a winner.

The Daughters / Grass Angels consist of Lorraine Jordan (mandolin and vocals), Gena Britt and Julie Elkins (banjo and vocals), Dale Ann Bradley, Valerie Smith, Heather Berry, Megan McCormick and Mindy Rakestraw (guitar and vocals), Becky Buller, Angela Oudean, Donica Christensen, (fiddle), Vicki Simmons, Frances Mooney and Beth Lawrence (bass and vocals), Michelle Nixon and , Jeanette Williams (vocals) and Louisa Branscomb and Dixie Hall (songwriters).

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