Memories Of The Past

Big Country Bluegrass

Rebel, 2013

REVIEW BY: Curtis Jones


Big Country Bluegrass has made a good name for themselves as modern purveyors of the traditional bluegrass sound. They do this very well, keeping the tradition of Bill Monroe alive and kicking decades later.  However, this approach is bound to keep their music off of the iPods of a younger generation and those less familiar with traditional American music.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

That said, the circularly titled Memories Of The Past keeps all ten of Big Country's feet firmly in the old school bluegrass camp. Their sound relies heavily on the banjo twang and high nasal tenor vocals, and the material is very much reminiscent of the old Bill Monroe or Stanley Brothers records than anything else.  In fact, the disc touches every clichéd subject on the bluegrass punch card. There's the barn burning leaving song "I'm Putting On My Leaving Shoes,” the jailhouse/murder ballad "99 Years Is Almost For Life," the child death tune "The Little Girl And The Dreadful Snake."  Then there is the obligatory home song "I'm Longing For My Old Virginia Home," the showoff instrumental "Choking The Strings," and the absolutely silly mother song "Somebody's Waiting For Me." 

Besides several stereotypical tunes there are a few redeeming tracks as well. "My Time's Running Out" is a cogent contemplation on mortality. And "If Teardrops Were Pennies" is a solid song and has the best melody and harmony of any tune on the album.  

Big Country Bluegrass makes no apologies for their style, nor should they.  In fact, they glory in it as one of the few major groups who are still going old school with their bluegrass sound.  They take a traditional approach to the genre and they do it well. However, this approach has its drawbacks and limitations, as other groups press past them with more progressive styles.

Rating: C

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