Sounds of Home

Sounds of Home

by Blue Highway
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Sounds of Home

Sounds of Home, Blue Highway's tenth album in its 17-year existence, is also the bluegrass quintet's third CD, following Still Climbing Mountains and Through the Window of a Train, to consist entirely of original songs written by members of the group. It is a tribute to both the bandmembers' fidelity to bluegrass tradition and to their songwriting ability that it would be possible to listen to the disc without realizing that the material is all newly written. Shawn Lane (guitar, mandolin, fiddle, vocals), Wayne Taylor (bass, vocals), and Tim Stafford (guitar, vocals) with his writing partner Steve Gulley all contribute traditional-sounding numbers that touch on issues of love, family, work, faith, and, of course, home in a manner that never betrays the 21st century origins of the tunes, and the group, also including Rob Ickes (Dobro, slide guitar) and Jason Burleson (banjo, guitar, mandolin, vocals) plays them in traditional bluegrass styles that include melancholy ballads ("Sounds of Home" itself), instrumental breakdowns ("Roaring Creek"), and even an old-timey country sound (the steel guitar-infused "My Heart Was Made to Love You"). Lane's high tenor voice, reminiscent of Bill Monroe, adds to the traditional feel of "I Ain't Gonna Lay My Hammer Down" and "Nobody's Fault But Mine" when he sings lead, and also gives the required "high lonesome" feel when he provides harmonies. Love is professed and denied, nature is celebrated and feared, manual labor sustains and threatens ("Only Seventeen" follows a teenager down a mine), and, throughout, God rules the universe. And it's all set to some blistering fingerpicking on the acoustic instruments, making for an excellent Blue Highway album to add to the collection.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/23/2011
Label: Rounder / Umgd
UPC: 0011661910720
catalogNumber: 619107
Rank: 123104

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Blue Highway   Primary Artist
Rob Ickes   Dobro,Lap Steel Guitar,Group Member
Tim Stafford   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Wayne Taylor   Bass,Vocals,Group Member
Jason Burleson   Banjo,Guitar,Mandolin,Group Member
Shawn Lane   Fiddle,Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals,Group Member

Technical Credits

Jim Price   Engineer
Barry Bales   Composer
Tim Stafford   Composer
Wayne Taylor   Composer
Blue Highway   Arranger,Producer
Steve Gulley   Composer
Jon Weisberger   Composer,Liner Notes
Craig Market   Composer
Jason Burleson   Composer
Bob Minner   Composer
Shawn Lane   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Sounds of Home 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Joe_Ross More than 1 year ago
Blue Highway performed its first gig on New Year's Eve in 1994 with its original lineup that includes the same consummate musicians that comprise the band today: Tim Stafford (guitar), Wayne Taylor (bass), Shawn Lane (mandolin, fiddle, guitar), Jason Burleson (banjo, guitar, mandolin), and Rob Ickes (Dobro, lap steel). Tim, Wayne and Shawn provide the vocals. Their early years found them associated with the reputable Rebel record label. In 1996, Blue Highway won an IBMA award for "Emerging Artist of the Year." In 1996 and 2006, they were recognized with IBMA "Album of the Year" awards. In 1997 and 2004, they won IBMA awards for "Gospel Recording of the Year." What a treat to hear a band with such a stable and solid lineup so full of talent! The internationally-renown quintet has now been associated with Rounder Records for over a decade. Over the years, Blue Highway has carved out their niche in bluegrass. Their musical vision has always incorporated accessible melodies, bright lyricism, and interesting dynamics. "Sounds of Home" is noteworthy for its all-original emphasis, with the exception of the public domain cover "Nobody's Fault but Mine." Taylor, Stafford and Lane's songwriting abilities are showcased. Burleson also penned a snappy instrumental "Roaring Creek." The band's considerable emotional depth shines through on moving songs like "Storm" and "Drinking from a Deeper Well." The former has us looking inward "to see the dawn when the storm is gone." The sorrow of a generic mining disaster is captured in the mournful ¾-time "Only Seventeen." Every band has a few unique signature arrangements we have become accustomed to, and Shawn Lane's solo vocalizing on "I Ain't Gonna Lay My Hammer Down" is an example that opens the album. One thing I miss here is a Wayne Taylor/Shawn Lane brother-style duet, as well as a Bluegrass Highway a cappella vocal arrangement typical of some we've heard on previous releases. But it always delights me when they use solid tried-and-true traditional messages to craft contemporary songs like "Bluebird Days" and "Restless Working Man." No Blue Highway album would be complete without a solid story song, and they masterfully fill that slot with "Heather and Billy," co-penned by Tim Stafford with Steve Gulley, about a couple with a great amount of love and compassion for children in need. Their musicality and approach are simply able to covey many aesthetic moods, along with considerable respect and depth. Blue Highway boasts an impressive track record as a contemporary bluegrass band, and the musicians individually as award-winners. They've released ten highly-acclaimed albums, been nominated for two Grammy awards (in 2004 and 2005), topped the Bluegrass Unlimited chart, won a Dove Award in 2004 for "Best Bluegrass Album" ("Wondrous Love") and taken home over a dozen IBMA and SPBGMA awards (either as a band or individually). "Sounds of Home" illustrates why Blue Highway has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most lauded groups in contemporary bluegrass music today due to their brilliant instrumental virtuosity, soaring harmonies, driving rhythms, well-crafted original material, and creative arrangements. (Joe Ross, Roseburg, Or.)