Getting Loaded On Bluegrass
Bruce Von Stiers
I really don't listen to bluegrass that often. I only have a couple of bluegrass albums in my collection. But a bluegrass album that was recently released has now found its way there. The album is Loaded and comes from the bluegrass band Shotgun Holler.
The four members of Shotgun Holler that are listed on the album cover are Shawn Brock, Matt Jones, Rod Lunger and Nathan Treadway. Shawn is on mandolin and does backing vocals. Rod is on bass and harmonizing vocals. Nathan is the band's banjo player. Matt is the lead vocalist and plays guitar. Even though he isn't listed on the album cover, the band also gets some help from fiddler and backing vocalist Alex Benefiel.
Loaded was produced by Jim Vancleve. Recorded at the Lonesome Day Studio in Booneville, Kentucky, the album was engineered by Vancleve and Greg Lawrence. The album was released by MRi Entertainment and Dry Lightning Records and distributed by Sony/Red.
Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson did a great rendition of the Guy Clark / Darrell Scott song Out In the Parkin' Lot. But Shotgun Holler has a somewhat faster paced rendition of the song as their first offering on this album. To tell you the truth, I like this rendition better than the Paisley/ Jackson one.
The second song is a bit slower and is endearing. The song is I Hope Heaven Has A Holler. It is a tribute to the singer's father who has passed on.
There's an old Bluegrass standard that a lot of people have recorded called My Bucket's Got A Hole In It. From Hank Williams to Ramsey Lewis and even Van Morrison, there have been many renditions of this classic. Shotgun Holler adds a pretty decent rendition to that long list.
The band takes a turn at the Jay Farrar song Methamphetamine. It has smooth vocals with just the right amount of angst. The string music is a terrific part of the angst feel of the song.
A moonshiner and his beautiful daughter are the main ingredients in the fun, toe-tapping song Clovis Johnson's Old Red GMC.
Relatively Easy might seem like a sad song, but it actually is somewhat uplifting. The band does a good job with this Jason Isbell song.
Moving on back to a strong bluegrass sound is I've Got Ramblin On My Mind. It is an original song written by Matt Jones.
This Side of the Grass is a kind of Texas two-step kind of song.
Miners Grave is another song written by Matt Jones. It is great bluegrass song with a lots of banjo.
The final song on the album written by Matt Jones is One Lone Tree. It is a slow and endearing song about the strength of family.
The album concludes with the Ed Williams song, I Should Have Started Yesterday. It is a toe tapping bluegrass song with a lot of mandolin and banjo.
Shotgun Holler has a distinct mix of alt country and bluegrass. The vocals are strong and the music is outstanding. You never know that Loaded was their debut album. I am sure that this is just the first in a long list of top ranked albums for the band.
Loaded can be found at amazon.com and other online and traditional music retailers.
Check out Shotgun Holler at their official site at http://shotgunholler.com You will also find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/shotgunholler?fref=ts
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© 2015 Bruce E Von Stiers