CD: Out of Print
A collection of songs about love, loss and longing from a wide range of sources; Bill Monroe, Etta James and the Temptations to name a few. With Art, Matt, Lisa, Mark and Jeff Whitson on banjo.
Critical Acclaim for Somebody Like You
Lisa Fuglie makes a strong and jazzy vocal statement with the Etta James' classic, "At Last," when this disc starts to spin. You immediately realize that Monroe Crossing is no ordinary bluegrass band. In fact, their fifth release is chock full of musical references to other genres too (some Greek influences in "Never on Sunday", a little country in "Rose of my Heart" and "Oh Lonesome Me," a little Motown soul in "My Girl," Celtic flavors in "The Call and the Answer"). Bluegrass is still this band's foundation, but more and more, I've come to appreciate their solid multi-dimensional music as Americana, rooted in tradition but with many branches into other territories.
Monroe Crossing hails from Minnesota, and bands outside Appalachia often take more adventurous tacks as they sail musical waters. Somewhat of a concept album, "Somebody Like You" concentrates on love songs. Mixing instrumentals ("Never on Sunday" and the western swingy "Maiden's Prayer") with plenty of vocal numbers, the thematic result is a set with slower to moderate tempos than typically found on your usual bluegrass album. But, then again, this entertaining band seems to be breaking more and more out of the bluegrass mold.
When they cover Bill Monroe's "My Little Georgia Rose" and "Rocky Road Blues," their arrangements end up more subtle and indirect, than high and lonesome as the Father of Bluegrass did them. Unlike Jim and Jesse McReynolds' version, "Just Wondering Why" has a visceral and effective quality with a different type of emotional impact than the original. Blackburn's self-penned title cut is a longing to find just the right person for life's journey...
Individually, the band members bring an experience base from many musical walks of life ranging from rock, blues and bluegrass bands. The total package is a compelling set with a distinctive stamp.