Back at the Quonset Hut
Chuck Mead has stayed busy since the break up of BR5-49. He's toured with members of the Mavericks as the Hillbilly All-Stars, taught at Vanderbilt University, and became the music director for the Tony-winning Broadway hit Million Dollar Quartet. He now leads the Grassy Knoll Boys, another roots rock outfit, but on Back at the Quonset Hut he left his Boys behind and assembled a bunch of studio pros who have been playing sessions since the '60s. Quonset Hut Studios once hosted sessions by George Jones, Patsy Cline, and other legends. Mead re-creates yesterday's hits with a bit of modern panache. The opener, Roy Acuff's "Wabash Cannonball," features the Old Crow Medicine Show and tips its hat to the swing of Bob Wills with Chris Scruggs adding some tasty Leon McAuliffe-style fills on steel guitar. Bobby Bare joins in on "Hey Joe," a Carl Smith hit, while Jamey Johnson adds his gravelly baritone to a hard honky tonk take on the George Jones hit "You Better Treat Your Man Right," with fine twangy guitar from Mead. On his own, Mead is just as impressive turning in solid versions of Del Reeves' lascivious truck-drivin' classic "Girl on the Billboard," Carl Perkins' "Cat Clothes," Hank Williams' "Settin' the Woods on Fire" (sung in a high tenor that mirrors Williams' soulful yelp), and Johnny Horton's "Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor" (with solid piano work by Hargus "Pig" Robbins).