Instrumental Bluegrass Fun

Winds of Winfield (Independent)
Mike Sumner

By Bob Mitchell

Mike Sumner, an excellent banjo player, is accompanied by Grammy Award winners Cody Kilby (guitar) and Andy Leftwich (mandolin and fiddle) on this release. Additional musical support comes from Randy Kohrs (Dobro) and Bryn Davies (bass).

In addition to knowing his way around the neck of his five string, Sumner is also and excellent songwriter, having written of five of the 12 tracks. Winds of Winfield, filled with musical fun, also features his son and his father on the three-generation take of a long time favorite, "Cripple Creek."

Highlights include a cover for Jimmy Martin's "Theme Time," and a no holds barred "John Henry." My favorites, however, were three Sumner originals: a feisty title track, a beautifully structured "Imagine," and a radiant "Summer Sun" (with some dazzling solos from everyone).

The instrumental project, a pleasant recording from start to finish, contains a satisfying mix of contemporary and traditional bluegrass. Sumner's solid and innovative banjo takes center stage on each track.

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