Cryin Heart Blues

Audie Blaylock and Redline / Audie Blaylock

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Cryin Heart Blues Review

by j. poet

Audie Blaylock's mellow, wailing tenor and lightening-fast guitar picking have made him one of the names to watch in the world of traditional bluegrass. He's been playing since he was a boy, and cut his teeth touring in the Sunny Mountain Boys, whose Jimmy Martin recruited him at the age of 19. He spent nine years with Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys and their cheerful, uplifting sound clearly had an influence on his development as an artist. After decades of session work and touring with Rhonda Vincent, Red Allen, and other heavies, Audie Blaylock put together Redline with Patrick McAvinue on fiddle and mandolin, Evan Ward on banjo, and Matt Wallace on bass. Blaylock's sidekicks may only be in their early twenties, but they've already racked up an impressive string of credits, capped by two IMBA Emerging Artist of the Year awards in 2005 and 2006. The quartet show what they can do on the closing track of the album, "Rummie's Run." The tune is taken at a blazing speed with McAvinue's fiddle setting the pace and trading solos with Ward, Blaylock, and his own double-tracked mandolin. It's an impressive blow out, but most of the time, Blaylock and Redline play with a soulful restraint that gives the music a delicious tension. "Troubles ‘Round My Door" balances hope and heartache with Ward's banjo and Blaylock's lead vocal carrying the emotional weight. The aching, high lonesome moan of "Can't Keep on Runnin'" is played in a measured tempo with Wallace laying down a sparse bassline that pulses like a broken heart. Redline celebrates the wild side of live with Freddie Hart's honky tonk hit played as a syncopated loser's waltz. The quartet's harmonies are thrilling throughout, especially on the gospel tunes. Jimmy Martin's "Pray the Clouds Away" does just that with the group's sunny sanctified harmonies, and former Beverly Hillbilly banjo player Don Parmley's "He Is Near" is given a consecrated a cappella treatment.

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