One of my favorite talented bluegrass friends Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers has an amazing new CD entitled The Story We Tell from Rebel Records. The band’s sixth CD in seven years brings together a vibrant collection of songs that when heard, work together like chapters from a well-worn literary classic.
Filled with new songs from some of today’s top songwriters including Larry Cordle, Jerry Salley, Ronnie Bowman, Steve Bonafel, and Raleigh Satterwhite, alongside forgotten gems the band dusted off from such varied sources as The Delmore Brothers, Merle Haggard, and The Browns, the balance achieved on The Story We Tell flows through the speakers like tuning in to your favorite radio broadcast — a claim only befitting of the reigning IBMA Broadcaster of the Year, Joe Mullins.
“We gathered a very diverse set of songs, heavy on new material from great writers, allowing us to tell several types of stories — tales of fun, family, fiddlers, faith, felons, and one funeral … real bluegrass,” banjo player Joe Mullins.
And if the lead off track and first single, “Long Gone Out West Blues,” debuted on Bluegrass Today’s Top 20 Songs chart, maintaining a strong presence for five consecutive weeks.
Featuring Mullins alongside bluegrass veterans Mike Terry (mandolin), Jason Barie (fiddle), Randy Barnes (bass), and Duane Sparks (guitar), The Story We Tell showcases the band’s most inventive and innovative arrangements to date, both vocally and instrumentally on 12 tracks. With an approach to the music that rings with authenticity, the band secures a rightful place among the traditional guard of bluegrass while standing comfortably shoulder to shoulder with more progressive type artists who find themselves drawn to not only JMRR’s music, but their down-home, likable nature.
In the album’s liner notes, journalist Craig Havighurst brings The Story We Tell and its authors to one solid conclusion: “Joe and his superb band with its diverse strengths and multiple lead vocalists have patiently carved out a special place in the national scene. They’ve won some awards that you can look up, though fewer than they deserve and fewer than they will over time. What matters more is that Joe’s steady contributions and excellent performances are accumulating, year in and out. So is a larger story of an artist who’ll tend to traditional music for decades, something we very much need as the genre widens. Just remember that Joe and his band mates are standing sentinel over something even more profound than the cultural creation we cherish as bluegrass. They’re giving us all tuneful, truthful reasons to have faith in the future of the country.”
The Story We Tell is available for digital download at iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon. Consumers may also order The Story We Tell direct from Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers at www.radioramblers.com.