May 2008 was an exciting month for Kentucky Sassafras, the state's premier young bluegrass band. The band released its highly anticipated third CD and they were selected as the act to precede a recent concert by Ralph Stanley.
Only one new member over the past three years has resulted in a more relaxed and cohesive sound. The band displays more maturity and confidence not only in their vocal work but also with musical support. The newest member, 16-year-old Maggie Lander, fits like a glove. Her exciting fiddle technique and tone contribute significantly to the overall success of this project. She wrote "Boone's Flint" a remarkable instrumental with a tuning reminiscent of Bill Monroe and the insightful "Farm Down the Lane.
Chloe, 18, provides guitar, banjo and lead vocals with style and self-assurance. She is at her best on the heartfelt title track she wrote. Tyler Mullins continues to drive the band with astonishing banjo and guitar work. He also steps forward with a fine lead vocal on "Lonesome Old Home."
Turner Hutchens, 13, supplies terrific mandolin chops throughout the release. His work is particularly noteworthy on "Look Down That Lonesome Road." For the first time he also takes the lead vocal on "Blue Moon of Kentucky." Bassist Amelia John, 13, rounds out the group with a rock solid foundation.
In My Rear View, a satisfying mix of selections, respects traditional bluegrass, showcases an abundance of talent and provides a pleasant experience. Other musical highlights are a straight ahead cover for Bill Monroe's "Wheel Hoss," and a lively "June Apple" featuring Chloe's superb banjo.
For more information go to www.kysassafras.com; Kentucky Sassafras will perform Friday, July 11 at the Old Capitol Grounds in Frankfort, Ky. and Friday, August 8, at Fountain Park in Madison, Ind.