Following an album of wellknown standards, one of gospel songs, and one in tribute to the songs of Cullen Galyean, Rich In Tradition has released its most balanced recording to date. Starting the CD off on the right footing is their cover of Cullen Galyean’s love song to a train, “Black Mountain Special.” Immediately, the listener should be drawn to the song’s irresistable drive and to the fragments of the melody of “Bound To Ride” blended into the verses. Underscoring its appeal is a performance that showcases what make this such a fine regional band.
Black Mountain Special is one of four songs included here that are tied either specifically or vaguely to a subtheme of railroading. Of the four, the other standout tune is the cover of the Gussie Davis/Harry Neal 1898 sentimental song, “Red And Green Signal Lights,” in which an engineer learns of his ill daughter’s status by noting whether his wife hangs a red (she’s passed away) or green (she’s getting better) lantern as he steams past their trackside home. The band’s trio harmonies are of special note, rising above what is an album of good vocals.
Of equal interest are two nonrailroad band originals. One is bassist Brad Hiatt’s smooth, melodic take on a guy who can’t see why he can’t be the “Only One Calling You Baby.” In it can be heard a touch of the Dillard’s in their “Decade Waltz” period, and it provides a nice contrast to the more traditional sounds found throughout the album. The second is Greg Jones’ slow, country “Lost, Heartbroke And Lonesome,” a tune that creates interest with a nice shuffle and a nifty twist to a standard chord progression. Throw in an excellent cover of the gospel song “Let’s All Go Down To The River,” a couple of solid originals and some wellplayed standards, and this recording has much to recommend. (Mountain Roads Recordings, 3192 Highway 421, Bristol, TN 37620, www.mountainroadsrecordings.com.) BW