Darrell Webb has been cutting a swath through the world of bluegrass for the past 20 years, honing his chops with groups like the Lonesome River Band and J.D. Crowe & the New South, and most recently serving as guitarist, mandolin player, and lead vocalist in Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper. Webb finally put together his own band of young pickers, and on his debut as a leader he lets each player shine. This is modern bluegrass full of mountain soul with traces of honky tonk and blues tossed in to keep things interesting. The album comes roaring out of the gate with Merle Haggard's "I'm Bringing Home Good News" played at a blistering tempo. Banjo player Chris Wade's solos flash between damped notes and flurries of high-string fills that play off against Webb's mandolin and guest fiddler Jim VanCleve. "Big Black Train," the album's other rave-up, opens with a slow bluesy interlude that showcases Tyler Kirkpatrick's fine Dobro work before slipping into a fast rolling jam that lets VanCleve, Wade, and Webb show off their chops. On the country tip you get "He Can't Fill My Shoes," a honky tonk ballad about a faithless woman and her new man with Webb turning in an anguished lead vocal, and "To See an Angel Cry," a slow mournful waltz that paints the painful portrait of a man who's constantly bringing his woman to tears. Kirkpatrick's Dobro and VanCleve's fiddle add extra pathos to the music as Webb channels his inner George Jones on the lead vocal. There are no originals on the album, but the bandmembers manage to make every tune their own with the intensity of their performances.
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AllMusic Review by j. poet