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Songs from Wildwood Valley based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
The Wildwood Valley Boys, from Indiana, are carrying on the bluegrass family tradition of the legendary Boys from Indiana. Guitarist and lead vocalist Tony Holt is the son of Aubrey Holt, who wrote eight of the twelve cuts on this project. The elder Holt also sings tenor and baritone on his self-penned "Big Time Johnny." The rest of the Wildwood Valley Boys are David Long (mandolin, tenor vocals), Wes Vanderpool (banjo), and Kevin Kehrberg (bass). Besides Aubrey Holt, other special guests include Aaron Till on fiddle, and Harlan Gabbard playing dobro and singing baritone. Harlan is Tony Holt's cousin and one of the original Wildwood Valley Boys. His father Harley Gabbard was a member of the Boys From Indiana. Since the Wildwood Valley Boys released their first album for Rebel Records in 1999, they've had a few personnel changes, but they haven't lost an iota of momentum. Besides Tony Holt, another original Wildwood Valley Boy is Wes Vanderpool, a banjo player who first started playing as a teenager, then went on to pick with Melvin Goins and the Bluegrass Thoroughbreds. This 12-track project is now the fourth album from the band, and it shows that they've achieved an even greater level of experience and maturity. It builds on their formula for success that revolves around fresh traditional-sounding material, well-blended vocals, and unpretentious yet solid instrumental prowess. Anything but trite, these songs appeal to staunch traditionalists who have certain expectations and enjoy powerful images or messages in their bluegrass music. "Jeremiah Callahan's Medicine Show," written by Marvin Davis, tells of a charming traveling salesman who sold 90 proof tonic. Of Aubrey Holt's compositions, a patriotic "The Spirit of America," Monroe tribute "The Big Man of Rosine," swingy "Big Time Johnny," countrified "Making Memories," and rousing "Talkin' in my Sleep" are standouts. Tony Holt wrote "I'm Not the Drifter," a nostalgic waltz-time ballad of lost love. The project closes with Sonny Throckmorton's "The Way I Am" and Flatt and Monroe's "When You Are Lonely." The album, Songs from Wildwood Valley, packs a double-riveted neo-traditional punch, and you'll find the sound and material very reminiscent of bluegrass' yesteryear. A band's ability to expertly present this kind of sound, with new original material, takes considerable skill and knack. The band obviously knows what their fans like, how to thrill them, and that is exactly what they serve up. Plus, their music's all in the family, and it's nice to see their tradition carried on. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)