A Tribute to Jimmy Martin: The King of Bluegrass, Vol. 1

A Tribute to Jimmy Martin: The King of Bluegrass, Vol. 1

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A Tribute to Jimmy Martin: The King of Bluegrass, Vol. 1

Although he is less well known than bluegrass pioneers Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley, the irascible Jimmy Martin has done as much as either to shape the sound of the genre, almost single-handedly developing what can only be termed honky tonk bluegrass. Martin is stubborn and brilliant, a rebel playing a style of music that favors tradition and only reluctantly abides innovation, and his larger than life personality has probably made him as many enemies as friends. But acknowledged or not, Martin's stamp is everywhere in contemporary bluegrass, and his impact on country music as a whole is also not to be underestimated. This tribute to Martin is rather special because it brings together four skilled musicians who all got their start as members of Martin's backup band, the Sunny Mountain Boys. Banjo players J.D. Crowe and Kenny Ingram, along with mandolin players Audie Blaylock and Paul Williams, join forces here to produce a surprisingly consistent and cohesive album. Their immersion in Martin's music is complete, which means they actually sound like a band (with Blaylock handling most of the lead vocals) rather than stars taking turns at the microphone, as is the case with most tribute affairs. Among the highlights here are versions of "Doin' My Time," "Ocean of Diamonds," and a marvelous rendition of A.P. Carter's "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes." Also worth mentioning is the version here of Martin's wise and cautionary "God Guide Our Leader's Hand," which is timeless in its call for careful consideration in all things political.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/13/2004
Label: Koch Records
UPC: 0684038981922
catalogNumber: 9819

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Audie Blaylock   Guitar,Vocals
J.D. Crowe   Banjo,Vocals,Baritone (Vocal)
Jason Moore   Bass
Harry Stinson   Drums,Snare Drums
Paul Williams   Mandolin,Vocals
Paul Williams   Mandolin,Tenor (Vocal)
Kenny Ingram   Banjo
Ben Isaacs   Bass,Bass (Vocal),Baritone (Vocal)
Sonya Isaacs   Baritone (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal)
Michael Cleveland   Fiddle
Michael Cleveland   Fiddle
Jesse Brock   Mandolin

Technical Credits

Buck White   Composer
Jimmie Skinner   Composer
A.P. Carter   Composer
Jimmy Martin   Composer
Eddie Stubbs   Liner Notes
Autry Inman   Composer
Alton Delmore   Composer
Paul Williams   Composer
Paul Williams   Composer
Steve Chandler   Engineer
Lee Groitzsch   Engineer
Ben Isaacs   Producer,Audio Production
Harry McAuliffe   Composer
Cliff Carnahan   Composer
Tim Dillman   Executive Producer
Paul Williams   Composer

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A Tribute to Jimmy Martin: The King of Bluegrass, Vol. 1 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Playing Time – 48:19 -- This album opens with Sonny Osborne proclaiming, “Jimmy Martin is one of the best bluegrass pickers in this country today.” So what better way to produce a tribute album to The King of Bluegrass than to assemble four alumni of the Jimmy’s Sunny Mountain Boys -- Audie Blaylock, Kenny Ingram, J.D. Crowe, and Paul Williams. Blaylock spent the longest time with Jimmy -- from 1982-1991. Other artists called upon to assist include Jason Moore, Mike Cleveland, Harry Stinson, Ben Isaacs and Sonya Isaacs. Jimmy Martin’s music was a seminal influence that greatly contributed to the growth, development and popularity of bluegrass music. Jimmy also had a unique talent for finding some of the best musicians to produce his trademark “good ‘n country” sound. On this project, Audie Blaylock does a commendable job recreating the solid guitar work and inspired lead singing that Jimmy offered. A special treat is to hear the tenor and baritone vocals, along with respective mandolin and banjo, of Sunny Mountain Boys Williams and Crowe. Paul Williams even sings the lead on “I’m Thinking Tonight of my Blue Eyes.” The song arrangements (and even many instrumental kickoffs, fills and breaks) that Blaylock and crew use stay remarkably close to the classic arrangements on numbers like “Home Run Man,” “Hold Whatcha Got” and others. This tribute album, however, provides a little boost in tempo to “Hold Whatcha Got.” Just as with an earlier rendition, Paul Williams sings lead vocals on the verses, and tenor on the choruses, for cuts like “There Ain’t Nobody Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone.” Another example, “Losing You,” has Sonya Isaacs’ high baritone in place of the original Vernon Derrick’s. And she also adds a true-to-form high baritone on “Steppin’ Stones” (as Lois Johnson once did with Martin back in 1961). In at least one case, the vocal arrangement is embellished from a traditional version. A trio for “I Cried Again” is a case in point whereas I believe that Jimmy Martin originally just recorded this number as a duet. In recent times, Jimmy Martin has been fighting cancer, and we all wish him the best. An album tribute to this great musician from Sneedville, Tn. is certainly a fitting way to honor the 1995 IBMA Hall of Honor inductee. This group of friends and musicians knows how to lay Jimmy’s music down right. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)