Brand New Strings - No Strings Attached

Brand New Strings - No Strings Attached

BRAND NEW STRINGS
NO STRINGS ATTACHED
Rural Rhythm
RHY 1057

Brand New Strings is just that, a brand new group based in Tennessee. Guitarist/lead vocalist Randall Massengill, bassist Tim Tipton, and resonator guitarist Matt Leadbetter are former members of Blue Moon Rising. Mandolinist/lead vocalist Mike Ramsey and banjoist Stuart Wyrick came over from New Road.

As New Road was a gospel band and Blue Moon Rising had strong ties to that genre, gospel songs are prominent. Of thirteen songs, no less than six fall in that category. “High On A Hilltop” is the closest thing to a standard here and is arguably the best gospel song on the album. Giving it a close run is Ramsey’s “Caught Up,” a rollicking tune set in motion by his propulsive mandolin.

Among the secular tracks, a few deserve special mention. “Merry Go Round,” from songwriter Alan Johnston, has a decidedly McCouryesque feel, notably from Ramsey’s vocal delivery. “Rainy Nights And Memories” sounds like pure, shuffling George Jones, soaring lines and the clipped word “night” and all. Ramsey’s “First Date” rounds out the album with a melodic look at a man bent on marriage after one date. What’s striking with this song and with “Merry Go Round” and “Caught Up,” as well, is how instantly familiar the material sounds. It would not be surprising to see several of them on the charts.

Nor would it be surprising to see this album chart as a whole. Great songwriting, excellent song selection, and arrangement. Classic traditional lead vocals from Ramsey and Massengill. All that equals an impressive debut. (Rural Rhythm Records, P.O. Box 660040 Arcadia, CA 91066, www.ruralrhythm.com.) BW