Wildwood Valley Boys

Daylight's Burnin'

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It's easy to wonder what exactly has taken place behind the scenes when a band goes from the Wildwood Valley Boys to Tony Holt & the Wildwood Valley Boys. To emphasize the change, singer Holt is front and center on the cover photo, with the "boys" comfortably behind him. In fact, they're further behind him than they would be on a stage. Luckily, whatever led to these changes doesn't seem to have affected the quality of the band's music. Tenor Aubrey Holt, arguably just as central to the band's success, has written eight of the album's 12 songs, and the rest of the band, fiddler Evan McGregor, mandolinist Jake Brown, dobroist Matt Despain, bassist Paul Priest, and banjoist Brian Leaver, are fine musicians who play well together. As with previous albums, the band combines fairly traditional bluegrass with more contemporary material like the title cut. Unlike the group's last album, however, even the newer material here holds close to tradition with boys leaving home but longing to get back to the family farm. Even the lovely "Whatever Happened to Ann," a memory piece of first love, could've been written 40 or 50 years ago. While these qualities make Daylight's Burnin' more old-fashioned, it's an enjoyable album filled with well-played and sung bluegrass.

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