I first heard most of this album and the group, Ragged Union Bluegrass in full vocal experience through a performance via Concert Window. I was captured by the sense of sitting in on a finely tuned jam session on a front porch. Geoff Union and the rest of the group have a way of taking you back to a simpler life - the way good Bluegrass should. As I listen to the CD of Hard Row To Hoe, I still have the same etheral experience.
One of the things that makes this album unique for me is the pure, crystaline voice of Christina Union. There are very few female vocals with a traditional bluegrass sound that I enjoy. Christina's voice was made to sing bluegrass. Her voice is well-matched with that of her husband, Geoff's. Together they form the perfect union yet they bring that something extra. Band members Jordan Ramsey (mandolin, vocal), Chris Elliott (banjo), Pat Hoepper (fiddle) and Andrew Bonnis (upright bass) with the addition of the other band members sweeten the notes that make this recording top-notch.
(Note: As of this review, Andrew Bonnis and Pat Hoeper are no longer a part of Ragged Union Bluegrass. Those positions are now held by Justin Hoffenberg (fiddle) and Mike Sivcovich (upright bass) - both quality artists in their own right)
From the first notes of Simple Life through the final note of Ferris Wheel, all thirteen tracks left the music resonating through my mind as I went about my day. To say this is not your grandpa's bluegrass could not be farther from the truth. The lyrics are as prevelant now as ever and the roots are there with each pick, strum and well-executed tone. Hard Row To Hoe belongs in every bluegrass CD collection and should you have the opportunity to experience Ragged Union Bluegrass live, to quote one of their tracks, Run Rabbit Run. You are in for a treat!
I'm tipping my hat:
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