Successful Schizophrenia

Heartache and Hope (TrakTone Records)
Pine Mountain Railroad

By Bob Mitchell

Although the band has new members, Pine Mountain Railroad has put together another strong release with a tight, pleasant sound sure to please any fan of traditional bluegrass music.

The opening track is a poignant, true story about an auto accident that takes the life of a child. "Laura Jean" sets the tone for the somber and dark "heartbreak" element of this project. "Powder Brown" is the tragic tale of a double murder-suicide. "Hazel Creek Train" is a chronicle of greed and murder. "White Lighting Strikes" is an account of a moon-shining "mean old cuss" who murders the local Sheriff as the former attempts to enforce the law.

This reviewer was relieved to get to the reassuring "hope" sections of the recording. "Old Bryson Station" and "Butter on the Biscuit" are first-rate, straight-ahead bluegrass instrumentals that will get your toes tapping and help you escape from the every day problems of the world. P.M.R also presents four outstanding gospel songs but the most impressive are "Fly Away" is a beautiful melody made even more beautiful by Sonya Isaacs' harmony and "Brother Noah" is a hand clapping piece of encouragement with exemplary guitar work from the composer.

Heartbreak and Hope, a strong project, serves as a show case for one of the finest bands in the industry. P.M.R members are Jerry Butler on guitar and lead vocals, Cody Shuler on mandolin and tenor vocals, Kipper Stitt on fiddle, banjo and harmony vocals, Bill McBee on bass and vocals and Matt Flake on fiddle.

Guesting on this project are Stuart Duncan and Shad Cobb (fiddle), Missy Raines (bass) and Ben Isaacs (harmony).

Find more hope and heartache at www.pinemountainrailroad.com.