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Darren Beachley & Legends Of The Potomac - Take Off

Darren Beachley & Legends Of The Potomac - Take Off

DARREN BEACHLEY & LEGENDS OF THE POTOMAC
TAKE OFF

Patuxent Music
PXCD 210

For decades, the greater Washington, D.C., region has been an incubator for great bluegrass and newgrass bands, both long-lived (Seldom Scene) and ephemeral (Chesapeake). Darren Beachley & Legends Of The Potomac is the latest supergroup to emerge from this ever-shifting constellation, and its name pays homage to the region’s glorious tradition.

Though this band is fresh to the scene, the faces in it certainly aren’t. All five members of Legends—Beachley, tenor vocals/guitar; Mike Auldridge, resonator guitar/pedal steel guitar/vocals; Norman Wright, mandolin/vocals; Mark Delaney, banjo/guitar; and Tom Gray, acoustic bass—are veterans of acclaimed ensembles from whose shadows Legends Of The Potomac has emerged. Not surprisingly, there’s a strong sense of continuity in the music, as well. The rich, impeccable harmonies, the clean, spacious production, and imaginative song choices conjure up immediate and positive comparisons with formative bands like the Seldom Scene and the Country Gentlemen.

These 14 tracks include blasts from the distant and not so distant past, such as the Louvin Brothers’ “You’ll Forget” and “Leavin’ And Sayin’ Goodbye” (a ’70s Faron Young “countrypolitan” hit). But, there is also a healthy offering of noteworthy new material, including a pair of ballads, “Other Side Of Lonely” and “Love Don’t Know,” penned by Paula Breedlove and Brad Davis.

Most satisfying is “Tall Weeds And Rust,” a powerful and timely ballad about losing an ancestral forty acres to suburban sprawl and blight. Cowritten by Don Rigsby, Tom T. Hall, and Dixie Hall, it features a fine guest vocal from Tom T. with stellar backing from this exceedingly accomplished new bluegrass supergroup. (Patuxent Music, P.O. Box 572, Rockville, MD 20848, www.pxrec.com.) BA