David Davis - Two Dimes and a Nickel

David Davis and The Warrior River Boys - Two Dimes and a Nickel

Rebel Records

Similarities abound between this recording and Davis’ previous release, “Troubled Times.” Both are full of talent of the highest caliber. The singing is dead on, as is the instrumental work. Backing Davis on both recordings are bassist/vocalist Marty Hays, guitarist Adam Duke and fiddler Owen Saunders. They were good then and they’re good now (if anything, they’re more cohesive). The one change is that Robert Montgomery has replaced Daniel Grindstaff on the banjo and also taken Duke’s vocal role. Again, there is no loss of quality.

The album has 12 songs that are dominated by mostly medium and slow tunes that lean heavily on the blues and tragedy and loss. It has two public domain tracks: “I’ve Been All Around This World” and a ripping cover of the oldtime tune “The Train That Carried My Girl From Town.”

The majority of the tracks are from contemporary songwriters, including three from upandcomer Tommy Freeman (check out “The Tennessee Line”). Alan Johnston, who wrote three for the last record, contributes four here. His best retells the John Hardy legend and details how Hardy’s troubles began from gambling for “Two Dimes And A Nickel.” Johnston’s “That’s When I Cried” is also achingly compelling.

The inclusion of a Marshall Tucker Band tune called “Blue Ridge Mountain Skies” has Davis and the band giving a nod to the original with a mildly southern rock intro, but they quickly bring it into line with a more traditional feel—except for a nifty descending chord turnaround in the chorus. Just as the “Troubled Times” album was one of the best releases of its year, “Two Dimes And A Nickel” is one of the best recordings of this year. (Rebel Records, P.O. Box 7045, Charlottesville, VA 22906, www.rebelrecords.com.) BW