Family and Friends Doing It Right

Bluegrass and More (Thunderbolt Records)
Bobby Atkins & The Countrymen

By Bob Mitchell

Bluegrass and More, a pleasant listening mix of traditional country and bluegrass music, showcases the Atkins family and a few friends. The Countrymen are Atkins on banjo and lead and harmony vocals; Mark Atkins, Ty Bullins and Tommy Randolph on rhythm guitar; Tim Atkins, Jason Atkins and Pete Lortz on bass; Mark Atkins on mandolin and vocals and Jimmie Arnold on fiddle and lead guitar.

The group performs a wide variety of songs ranging from the high lonesome sounds of Bill Monroe's "Goin' Back to old Kentucky," and Atkins' instrumental arrangements of a frisky "Sourwood Mountain," and a bouncy "Durham's Bull" to the traditional country feel of "Lonesome 77203, "One Has My Name," and a first rate cover of the Louvin Brother classic "When I Stop Dreaming."

Atkins' smooth vocals are utilized with excellent effect on "Mockingbird Hill," and "Jesus Answers My Prayers." Each band member makes a significant contribution but especially noteworthy are Jimmie Arnold's guitar in "The Ballad of Henry Lowery" and his fiddle work in "Let Those Brown Eyes Smile At Me," along with Mark Atkins' mandolin chops in "Rhythm Of The Falling Rain."