Hard-Working Traditionalists

David Peterson & 1946
In The Mountaintops to Roam (Independent)

By Bob Mitchell

I've always appreciated Peterson's music, but last year I gained a new respect for him and 1946. It was an uncommonly hot and humid Kentucky summer afternoon when the boys arrived for a local festival. Their small van was a far cry from the luxurious busses that provide comfortable transportation for more recognized acts. They diligently began to unload instruments, set up the product table and greet fans.

Within a short time they were on stage to provide a high energy set of bluegrass played in a way that would make Bill Monroe proud. They refused to allow the oppressive heat affect a performance designed to give fans a first-rate show. They left the stage drenched in sweat. In fact, I've never seen a wetter group but they greeted fans and posed for pictures as if nothing was out of the ordinary.

Later that evening they gave another show in stifling humidity and once again left the stage drenched in sweat. It was 11 p.m. when they tore down the product table, packed up instruments and left on another long drive to another festival. Like so many other artists, their efforts were an act of love for the music they admire and relish. This kind of information is not usually included in a review but it is shared to illustrate that Peterson is an authentic replication of the first generation of bluegrass bands in they way they dress, play and make sacrifices. This project captures that kind of spirit and is highly recommended.

The band is extraordinary and their support is the perfect underpinning to Peterson's traditional approach. The use of triple fiddles was a stroke of genius. The band also contributes first-rate vocal harmonies especially on "Some Of These Days," and "Put Me On the Trail to Carolina."

Michael Cleveland, Stuart Duncan and Buddy Spicher's fiddle contributions are sublime but no more so than on "I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand," A Good Woman's Love," and "You'll Find Her Name Written There." Charlie Cushman's banjo and Mike Compton's mandolin energize every track with intensity and innovation, particularly on "Some of These Days," and "In Despair." Other highlights include Peterson's impressive covers for Hank Snow's "Golden Rocket," and Mac Wiseman's "Bluebirds Are Singing For Me."

On a five-point scale of excellence, this release merits a five.

For more information, check out www.1946band.com.