• Tom Ewing: Adventures of a Bluegrass Boy (2016, Patuxent Music)
I can’t do more than to quote Tom Ewing himself:
Between 1986 and 1996, while I was one of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, I had many great adventures. But few equaled the ones involved with the making of these recordings. Unfortunately, most were released on cassette tapes at a time when the CD was making cassettes obsolete, and I was unable to afford to convert them to the new technology. Now, thanks to Tom Mindte of Patuxent Music, I can share these adventures with you.
I don’t recall hearing much of Tom Ewing’s own work, so this was an unexpected, and as it turned out, delightful treat. Tom sings a confident, mellow lead that reminds me at times of Carter Stanley (who Bill Monroe said was the greatest lead singer he ever worked with). The picking is impeccable, with familiar players from the ’80s and ’90s, and the songs are a wonderful mix of traditional (can’t think of the last time I heard “Please Come Back, Little Pal”) and—to my great surprise—a large helping (eight out of 14) of originals by Tom himself. Original, yes, but right in the heart of the mountain bluegrass tradition, gems really. Here’s a sample, a tribute to his own home state of Ohio (and the only song I recall about that state):
I can’t think of an new album I’ve enjoyed more right out of the folder. If you’re taking a trip, get a copy and toss it into the CD player. You’ll be tapping your toes and singing along. Kudos to Tom Mindte of Patuxent Music for issuing these long-neglected performances from the very core of bluegrass-style country music. A HIT, for sure! /CL