New Coon Creek Girls
Our Point of View, Pinecastle Records CD PRC1077, 1998
You wont find them on the much touted Lilith Fair Tour. Theyre not
members of the Grand Ole Opry. Too bad, for on the bands new release,
Our Point Of View, the all-female bluegrass bands cohesion
and capacity rise to the fore, resulting in an extremely pleasing effort.
Owing more to the 90s style of bluegrass popularized by Alison
Krauss, the New Coon Creek Girls nevertheless are anything but new.
Theyve been at it since the early 80s. Theyve shared stages
with Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley, and recorded with the legendary Jim &
Jesse. Their lead singer, Dale Ann Bradley, has become a bit of a name for
herself due to her distinctly sweet vocals, yet the band, despite their
interesting name and lineage, have failed to cross into the mainstream. And
thats not necessarily a bad thing. In the bluegrass world they are highly
respected. Their musics taken them around the world, performing on stages
from the Opry to across Europe.
On their latest album, while it is not quite their best, the Girls nevertheless
shine. Bradleys vocals, augmented by Ramona Church Taylors tenor
and Vicki Simmons baritone, command much of the attention. Indeed, tunes
such as "Danny Boy," the albums stand-out, feature little
instrumentation. Bradley masterfully emotes, winding her way through the
classic songs subtle nuances with the studied skill of the seasoned pro
that shes become, easily resulting in the finest interpretation of
"Danny Boy" in eons.
The album comes uncluttered with guest or augmented accompaniment, leaving it
to the ladies to supply all the music. And except for a few instances, they
keep their individual talents under wraps, heightening the notion that the New
Coon Creek Girls are an ensemble. Each member, however, takes a step forward on
the albums lone instrumental track, aptly titled "On Fire."
Their cover of Jimmie Rodgers "Muleskinner Blues (Blue Yodel No.
8)," owing more to Monroe than Rodgers, features some quite welcome
improvisation, though Perrys short mandolin solo compares not a bit with
Several gospel numbers, including the languid "Clinging To A Saving
Hand" (featuring Richardsons nice fiddle solo) and especially the
affecting three-part harmony on "Who Will Pray For Me," offer
examples of the band at their unadulterated Sunday best. Taylors lead
vocal on "Heavens The Way To Go," while endearing and
entertaining, nonetheless lacks the lyrical appeal of the albums other
Emblematic of the albums spirit is the euphonic, upbeat "One Of A
Kind," in which Bradley sings of finding love after "a lifetime of
searching for what I thought Id never find." Our Point of
View, with its spare arrangements, introspective nature and steady flow of
positivity, finds the New Coon Creek Girls flowing as brilliantly as a
beautiful mountain stream on a warm Kentucky morning. Tom
Dale Ann Bradley, vocals and guitar; Ramona Church Taylor, vocals and banjo;
Vicki Simmons, vocals and bass; Pam Perry, vocals and mandolin; Deanie
Richardson, vocals and fiddle.