Once Upon a Road

Once Upon a Road

5.0 2
by Nothin' Fancy
     
 
Nothin' Fancy combines the best elements of progressive and traditional bluegrass to create a hybrid reminiscent of the mellow sounds of Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen. The band formed in Lexington, VA, in 1994, and Once Upon a Road, issued by Pinecastle, serves as its fine debut. The album opens with "I'm Running

Overview

Nothin' Fancy combines the best elements of progressive and traditional bluegrass to create a hybrid reminiscent of the mellow sounds of Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen. The band formed in Lexington, VA, in 1994, and Once Upon a Road, issued by Pinecastle, serves as its fine debut. The album opens with "I'm Running Away," an easy-flowing ode to getting out while the getting's good, adorned with pleasant harmony and deft solos. The title track, interestingly, features a string arrangement, an unusual occurrence in bluegrass. The strings are tastefully integrated, though, and while classical-grass may be a hard sell, only traditional bluegrass fans will actually be offended. By the fourth track, listeners may notice that mandolinist Mike Andes has had a hand in writing three of the first four songs, and that the material has a similar, relaxed pace that makes these pieces easy on the ear. The spell is broken by an a cappella rendering of "Do Not Pass Me By," which prepares the way for original religious material like "The Light Came Shining Down" and "When the Angels Take My Hand." These tradition-oriented tracks are good, but lack the originality of the earlier pieces. Fans of older styles of bluegrass, however, will enjoy these cuts along with good covers of "I Wonder Where You Are Tonight" and "Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor." Unpretentious and solid, Once Upon a Road is a fine opening salvo from Nothin' Fancy.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/11/2002
Label:
Pinecastle
UPC:
0755757112024
catalogNumber:
1120
Rank:
189563

Tracks

Album Credits

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Once Upon a Road 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been fortunate enough to see this band growing in their popularity for the last four years by being based in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. When I had a music store and was selling cd's and tapes, I was overwhelmed with the release of ''Field of Dreams'' in 2000 due to the professionalism and originality of their sound and material. The songwriting talent of Mike Andes is just unbelievable. When 2001 rolled around and they brought out ''Now and Then'', I did not believe they could get any better. With the release of ''once Upon A Road'', I am happy to have been wrong. This project captures the impeccable harmonies and instrumentation of this previously nationally unknown group. My recommendation would be to buy two copies of this new cd because you will try to wear out the first copy by continously playing it. With the title cut of ''Once Upon A Road'' by the storyteller himself, Mr Tom T. Hall and Miss Dixie, you know you are in for a treat. And do not expect to be dissapointed by Mike Andes' original songs. He is now in league with the best of them. As note, he has been selected for the 2002 IBMA Songwriters Showcase. Mike Andes' original song ''Heaven Got An Angel'' from the ''Field of Dreams'' release has also been recorded by Charlie Waller and the Country Gentleman on the ''Crying In The Chappel'' project. Happy Listening.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A hardworking contemporary band from Virginia, Nothin' Fancy has been together since 1994. Over the years, their personalized original sound has built them a legion of followers. Nothin' Fancy is comprised of singer/songwriter Mike Andes (mandolin), Mitchell Davis (banjo), Gary Farris (guitar), Tony Shorter (bass), and Chris Sexton (fiddle) who joined the group in 1998. Guest artists on this album include Clay Hess (rhythm guitar), Jesse Wells (frailing banjo on "Fallen To My Foe"), and David Kazee (piano on "Once Upon A Road"). Mike Andes' originals comprise two-thirds of the songs on this project. "I'm Running Away" opens the album with a song of rambling and hope for the future. His "Fallen To My Foe" is a Civil War ballad, in a minor key, that speaks of bravery on the battlefield. "You Say I Say" is a well-written song with two perspectives about lost love, the bottomline being "she don't love you anymore." Tales of groups who have experienced miracles and give thanks to their Savior are documented in "The Light Came Shining Down." Andes also writes about more contemporary themes, desertion and homelessness and old age, in "Sign of the Times," which also features Chris Sexton on cello. Sexton's preference for a five-string fiddle also adds to the Nothin' Fancy sound, with some occasional low bows and fills. There's a nice hook in the love-growing-cold song, "Something's Up We're Going Down." Mike Andes is equally adept at writing instrumentals, and his "Graveltown Road" is a bouncy Celtic-sounding piece. The gospel original, "When the Angels Take My Hand" gives Sexton and Davis a chance to play some hard-driving bluegrass fiddle and banjo. Besides their original material, another band strength is clearly their nicely-blended and arranged vocals, with Mike's lead vocals, and Gary and Tony's harmonies. Mitchell adds bass on the a cappella quartet, "Do Not Pass Me By." Nothin' Fancy has all the necessary elements to bring them success. Despite the whimsical nature of their band name, this album is mighty fine and skillfully executed. If you take a "fancy" to solid, contemporary bluegrass, then Nothin' Fancy's album will be met with considerable listening pleasure. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)