It should be no surprise to anyone that I am a huge sucker for bluegrass. HUGE. It’s country music’s chipper sibling, what with all the banjos and mandolins and whatnot. And usually no one sings about how their wife left them. In fact, if you listen to “Hydro Radio,” the Tennessee Boltsmokers’ new album, there’s a song on there about wanting to get married. Sure, it’s called “Shotgun Wedding,” but still, no one’s taking anyone else’s pickup truck and flipping it “right off the interstate” (a lÃ¡ Lurleen Lumpkin).
And I don’t mind saying that Mark McKinney, vox and guitar, has a very sexy voice. I expect I could listen to him read the phone book, which is a bonus when I spend a lot of time listening to guys who can’t stay on pitch to save their lives. And the rest of the band just shine — I love the guitar solo and the sweet banjo in the back of “Smoking Gun.” It’s nobody’s cutting edge; but then again, it’s often much more worthwhile to hear the well-crafted familiar. If you like bluegrass, I guarantee satisfaction. Just don’t ask me what a boltsmoker is.
[These tracks have been removed. You can contact me if youâ€™d like a copy.]
The Tennessee Boltsmokers – Nickel & Dime Blues
The Tennessee Boltsmokers – Shotgun Wedding
The Tennessee Boltsmokers – Smoking Gun