About the time this project was released, SPBGMA nominations were announced: Lorraine Jordan for Mandolin Player Of The Year and Female Vocalist, David Guthrie as Guitar Player Of The Year and Male Vocalist and Carolina Road as entertaining Group Of The Year. Jordan is also a candidate for 2006 IBMA nominations for Mandolin Player Of The Year; Female Vocalist; Song Of The Year for "Back to the Well"; Recorded Event of the Year and Project of the Year (Daughters of Bluegrass, which was reviewed in the August issue of Louisville Music News). Plus, Ben Greene is a candidate for nomination for IBMA banjo player of the year.
After listening to A Stop In South Port Towne, it is easy to understand why the group received so many prestigious nominations - they know how to play traditional bluegrass.
Lorraine Jordan's dependable mandolin chops and heartfelt vocals provide the glue that holds Carolina Road together. Her captivating title cut features excellent fiddle and mandolin unison work. Two Jordan originals also deserve mentioning: a lighthearted "Pickin' With The Boys" and a heartwarming "May's Store," both of which deal with the joy of making music. Her brightest moment, however, is a sensitive rendering of Tom T. Hall and Dixie Hall's "A Beautiful River of Life."
David Guthrie's guitar and vocals are also a driving force throughout the entire recording but no more so than on Jimmy Newman's "Cry Cry Darling." Benny Greene's banjo keeps things moving and I especially enjoyed his work on "Take Me Back To Kentucky." Zack McClamb's bass provides a solid foundation on every track, but some of his best work is in "Portrait of the Blues." Josh Goforth's consistently pleasing fiddle is especially noteworthy on "I Just Think I'll Just Go Away" and "I'm Not Alone." Tim Hall contributes a strong lead vocal on five tracks. My favorites are "Kentucky," and "A Stop in South Port Towne."
Harmony has always been an important part of bluegrass and Carolina Road's harmony shines especially bright on "Portrait of the Blues," "I'm Not Alone," and "Take Me Back To Kentucky." Other highlights include a first rate cover for Bill Monroe's "My Old Kentucky and You" and Webb Pierce's "Tupelo County Jail."
For more information, check out www.carolinaroadband.com.