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The Bluegrass Storyteller

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Album Review

While artists often seem to randomly name their latest effort, James King has carefully aligned content with title on Bluegrass Storyteller. The music, let there be no doubt, is traditional bluegrass, harking back to Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley. And the 13 songs, from "Coldest Day of Winter" to "Just as the Sun Went Down," each tell a story. Singer James King and his stories are backed by fine ensemble work by mandolinist Kevin Prater, banjoist Bernie Green, bassist Jerry McNeely, and fiddler Adam Haynes. King has borrowed songs from a number of writers, from Tom T. and Dixie Hall to Carl Jackson to Fred Eaglesmith. "Echo Mountain" tells the heartbreaking tale of a father who believes the family dog, who is covered in blood, has killed his infant son. The father shoots the dog, only to find the baby safe and two dead wolves at the backdoor. Other songs — fathers meeting daughters they never knew they had, newlyweds meeting a bitter divorced man — specialize at surprising and pulling the listener's heartstrings. Since this is a country/bluegrass album, the last song — "Just as the Sun Went Down" — is the obligatory religious number, and should please traditionalists. Bluegrass Storyteller is a fine outing with good singing, solid instrumental work, and great stories. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Customer Reviews

Echo Mountain

The first time I heard this song I was in my car driving and I just had to stop and turn the volume up. I said in my car and listen to the entire song And a chill came over me when I heard the end of the song. It's that powerful. Some songs you just listen to and never really pay attention to but with this song it forces you to pay attention and at the end you are so glad that you did.


Genre: Classical

With his 1993 solo album These Old Pictures, James King was established as a top-notch bluegrass vocalist. The album, however, was only the latest step in a musical career that had begun 14 years before. A featured member of Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys in the 1980s, King, who was raised in Virginia's Carroll County, grew up listening to bluegrass. His father, Jim King, had appeared on Roanoke television with Don Reno and Red Smiley as tenor vocalist and guitarist for the Country Cousins,...
Full Bio
The Bluegrass Storyteller, James King
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Customer Ratings