Jim Nunally

Gloria's Waltz

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There are artists who, when they come to make a solo recording after a long career of accompanying others, insist on doing it alone to finally have the spotlight to themselves. Bluegrass guitarist and singer Jim Nunally is not one of those. On the contrary, this prolific musician makes a point of incorporating many of his musical and personal connections on the disc, starting with the title, which refers to his mother, whose taste in songs was the artist's guiding principle in deciding what to record. Family members including Nunally's stepfather Buddy Williford (guitar on "Old Paint") and his brother Rob Nunally (lead vocals on "Tennessee Mountain Home") appear. ("Tennessee Mountain Home" also features Nunally's niece Leah Whitcomb-Nunally on guitar.) And so do the bands with which Jim Nunally plays on a regular basis. John Reischman & the Jaybirds back him on "Hold Whatcha Got" and "Dark as the Night"; the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience is featured on "Then I'll Stop Going for You" and "Big Train from Memphis"; and Nunally's own band, Due West, is present on "Revenuer's Gun," "Your Tone of the Blues," and "Arms Full of Empty." Singer/guitarist Dix Bruce, who has paired with Nunally on four duo albums, does so again on "If Teardrops Were Pennies," "What About You," and "Gloria's Waltz," and he is also joined by regular singing partner Judy Forrest ("Poncho and Lefty," "Across the Great Divide"). If Nunally is never in danger of getting lost among all these family members and associates, it may be because of his appropriately nasal voice, which dominates many of the tracks, and his assertive guitar playing. Roughly speaking, this is a bluegrass album, but by taking as his guide a list of his mother's favorite songs, Nunally ranges far afield to embrace the music of Dolly Parton, Townes Van Zandt, John Fogerty, and Don McLean, all to good effect. That may keep the disc from being as traditional as it might have been, but the collection demonstrates that Gloria Nunally has good taste.

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