"OUT OF THESE MOUNTAINS"
A Music CD from A Simple Life Magazine
Featuring: SHAD COBB & CHARLIE CUSHMAN
I recently had the distinct honor and huge pleasure of producing an album of Old-Time Mountain music with two amazing musicians, and it’s called Out of These Mountains. It was truly one of the best weeks of my life. We recorded at the legendary Hilltop Recording Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, where they have been making records for some of the industry’s finest singers, songwriters and musicians since 1963.
The opportunity to make this album (yes, called CD’s these days!) came through a series of events that can only be explained as heaven-sent. And I can honestly say that I have never been more proud to be a part of a project as I am this one. I’m blessed beyond all measure, and so truly thankful to be able to share it with you. I had been looking for the “sound and voice of A Simple Life” for quite awhile and just never could put the right sound with the right musicians with the right personality to make it all come together. And then along came Shad Cobb and Charlie Cushman. They ended up filling in for another group who was supposed to play for us on the porch of our log cabin booth at the Heart of Country show in the Opryland Hotel last year. Things were looking rather desperate at the final hour when the hotel was able to contact Charlie, who then gathered up Shad and came to the rescue. At that point, I was just thankful for warm bodies and had no idea what kind of music they would play, (although it was a good sign that Shad carried a fiddle case and Charlie carried a banjo case!)
I asked Charlie if either of them sang and he said no. But again, I was just happy they were going to play at that point. An hour or more into their gig, I was inside the cabin working with a customer when I heard the purest voice I had ever witnessed. I went outside and stood in awe of Shad’s beautiful expression. Until that point, Shad has spoken very little so when he was done, I said, “You don’t talk, but you sure can sing.” He gave me his signature grin. Charlie looked over in amazement and said, “I’ve known this boy for nearly twenty years and I didn’t know he could sing like that!”
So here we are, at this beautiful place in life when everything came together in a perfect
way. I found the two most talented musicians in Nashville, literally, and one of them sings
like you can’t believe. They already had the spirit of the old mountain songs that I love so
much, in their blood. I had several songs already in mind for the project but as we got
deeper into it, Shad had the uncanny ability to just bring forth songs from within, that I
had either not heard before, or had forgotten, that fit our purpose perfectly.
These fine men are truly the, “Sound of A Simple Life,” and I am very proud to call them
friends. ~ Jill
Click here to see three of our videos of Shad & Charlie performing songs from the new album, "Out Of These Mountains," along with interviews about the project.
The videos were filmed at the Mark Twain cabin at the historic Museum of Appalachia.
Authentic and heartfelt music came out of the mountains and hollers of southern Appalachia during the last half of the 19th century, and still does. Ballads, folk songs, gospel and blues all blend together for a raw, pure and honest sound brought to the region from the 1700s by the early settlers, immigrants who came from English, Scottish and Irish roots.
In 1916, song catcher Cecil Sharp traveled to the remote regions of Appalachia because he was told these old songs were still being sung as a part of everyday culture. Because of the isolation of the area, the music remained true to its original European heritage and Sharp wanted to capture it directly from the people who sang and played it. The music as well as the soul was ever present in the mountains and it still is today.
The music was kept alive in the remote area because, “The musicians in the area knew each other, played with each other, worked with each other, exchanged tunes and ideas and shared notions of what their music was all about. This was especially true in the formative years of country music, when travel was hard, communication was difficult and most music was heard live,” says Charles K. Wolfe, author of Tennessee Strings.
It was among these old ballads that Cecil Sharp captured where the search began for the songs to be included on Out of these Mountains, an album recently produced by Jill Peterson and A Simple Life Magazine. Mournful tunes such as Pretty Polly, Star of the County Down and When Sorrows Encompass Me Round are deeply immersed in their European roots. Other titles such as Rank Stranger, Cora Is Gone, and This Old House Waltz are beautifully crafted and authentic, while Little Birdie and Will The Circle Be Unbroken are timeless classics. Shout Little Lulie and Sourwood Mountain are upbeat, spirited songs that one can imagine being played at dances and get-togethers where tight-knit communities came together to share in one of the only forms of entertainment they had in an otherwise difficult existence.
The music on the record is the familiar old-time mountain sound of the fiddle, banjo, guitar and upright bass, all skillfully mastered by Shad Cobb and Charlie Cushman, both of whom live in Nashville, Tennessee where they have been honing their craft for years. Charlie grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee and has been playing the five-string banjo since he was seven and professionally since he was fourteen. Early on, he was inspired by master banjo player Earl Scruggs, who was credited as the innovator of the three-finger style of playing that Charlie is so adept at today. During Charlie’s acclaimed career, he has been honored to appear and play with Scruggs and, more importantly, to call him a friend. Charlie added depth to many songs on the album with his skillful playing of acoustic guitar and upright bass. He doesn’t get to play those instruments as often since he specializes in banjo-picking, and this album showcases just how well-rounded his musicianship is. With his keen ear, he played an important role in producing, as well.
On the fiddle, clawhammer banjo and vocals is Shad Cobb. Though he is quiet, self-effacing and humble, Shad’s light shines bright in everything he undertakes. His ability comes from a pure and honest place deep within. Learning the fiddle from his dad when he was thirteen, Shad played in and around Wisconsin with his family’s band. In 1995, he moved to Nashville and began playing with some of the industry’s finest and has been doing what he was born to do ever since. Now considered one of the top fiddlers in the country, Shad can also add incredible vocalist to his list of talents. He sings the old songs the way they are meant to be sung - straight forward, passionate, meaningful and from the heart.
I invite you to give Out Of These Mountains a listen. It evokes a deep emotion, and will speak to you in a rare way that you won’t soon forget, and will want to hear again and again.
$15.00 each + $2.50 shipping
1. Little Birdie
2. New Five Cents
3. My Home's Across The Blue Ridge Mountains
4. Pretty Polly
5. Lonesome Road Blues
6. This Old House Waltz
7. Will The Circle Be Unbroken
8. Shady Grove
9. Rank Stranger
10. Susanna Gal
11. When Sorrows Encompass Me 'Round
12. Cora Is Gone
13. Shout Little Lulie
14. Star Of The County Down
15. Sourwood Mountain
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A wonderful new CD
OLD TIME MUSIC PARTY
For those of you who LOVE
Old Time Mountain Music this is for you! I am crazy about this new CD from Brian Vollmer and I know you will be to.
$15.00 ea + $2.50 shipping
1) Arkansas Two-Step
2) Fall On My Knees
3) The Lost Goose
4) Ladies On The Steamboat
5) Elzik's Farewell
6) Rambler's Blues
7) Birchfield's Sally Ann
8) Skippin' & Flyin'
9) Been All Around This World
10) What We Got's Rich
11) The Green Door
12) Trouble In Mind
13) Skillet Licker Breakdown
14) My Favorite Waltz
OLD TIME MUSIC PARTY REVIEW BY
JOHN GOAD OF BLUEGRASS TODAY:
Many of the bands who claim old time influences these days really have more of a folk or Americana style, with traditional songs set to a more modern sound. Brian Vollmer, a banjo and fiddle player originally from Maryland (where he studied banjo with the likes of Mike Munford and Bill Keith) goes in completely the opposite direction on his debut release, Old Time Music Party. Instead of folk tunes with perhaps a bit of clawhammer banjo here and there, this fourteen-track collection is filled with songs done in a straightforward old time style, performed and sang much the way they might have been a century or more ago in the hills of southern Appalachia.
The album opens with Arkansas Two-Step, a peppy fiddle tune which Vollmer pulled from home recordings of Fiddlin’ Bob Rogers, an old-time fiddler from near the Cumberland Gap in Tennessee. This is a great opening track, both in terms of its upbeat sound and the fine fiddling done by Vollmer and Rosie Newton. Ben Townsend contributes some interesting banjo licks, as well. Another well-done, upbeat fiddle tune is Ladies on the Steamboat, which comes from Clyde Davenport, a fiddler from south-central Kentucky who is well-known to scholars of mountain music. It’s a smooth, driving piece, with Vollmer joined on fiddle by Nate Leath.
Another enjoyable track is the traditional number Trouble in Mind. Vollmer’s version was pulled from eastern Kentucky singer Roscoe Holcomb, and here it’s light and just a bit mournful. Bluegrass fans may be interested in the early Stanley Brothers piece Rambler’s Blues. This take on the song is stripped down, with just sorrowful vocals from in front of a simple guitar rhythm – a little more Carter Family than Carter Stanley.
"Little Ole Log Cabin Down the Lane"
A Music CD from A Simple Life Magazine
Featuring: Pappy Fisher and His Old-Time Entertainers
Click here to listen to two songs from the CD!
Filmed at the Museum of Appalachia
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