Prescription Bluegrass & Music Charts Magazine Bluegrass Album Reviews
When it comes to Frank Solivan (pronounced soul-live-on), I can say yes. It was November 2006 and Prime Cuts of Bluegrass #84 came out with a single “Somebody’s Missing You” by, to me, an unknown singer named Frank Solivan.
I was an instant fan and knew that Solivan would become a name in bluegrass.
Fast forward six plus years and here we are with the release of ON THE EDGE, the sophomore project of Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, and the band is ready to be recognized.
This project, the band’s first release with Compass Records and their first release since receiving the 2012 IBMA nomination for Emerging Artist of the Year, is a showcase not only of Solivan’s soulful tenor voice but also of the talented musicians that make up the Dirty Kitchen band.
In addition to Solivan’s mandolin and fiddle playing, making up Dirty Kitchen are three extremely gifted musicians that can hold their own against any headline picker today. Mike Munford plays the banjo for the group and is a true monster on the five string. On the upright bass is Danny Booth. In addition to playing bass and harmony vocals, Booth penned and sang lead on “Wild Unknown”. Rounding out the ensemble is Chris Luquette on guitar and harmony vocals. Just saying the Luquette plays the guitar is such an understatement, he owns the guitar...
Maybe that comfortable feeling of mine is because that voice has been around so long, and I’ve never heard Marty sound anything but GOOD!
I knew goin’ in that I was going to like this CD, but, I didn’t know I was going to like it this much! WOW! What a recording this one is!
Marty produced this one himself, recording the instrumental tracks at Mojo Recording Studio, in Greenback, TN., with Josh Molen and Lewell Molen doing the engineering, mixing and mastering. For all of his lead vocal recordings, Marty went to Wishbone Studios, in Muscle Shoals, AL. He must have known exactly what he wanted, and where to go to get it, because, from a technical side, everything, instruments and vocals, all sound crystal clear, warm and rich. I love it when the microphone is up close and personal, like it is here, and you can hear the singer breathe. If you have headphones on, it’s almost like the artist is singing just to you…… Marty has that natural ability to convey his emotions in the most genuine way, and when his singing is matched by top quality equipment and technicians really listening for that magic in his voice, THIS recording is the result. I’ve never heard Marty’s voice sound better. Marty Lewis and Mike McGuire were the engineers waving their magic wands over these vocal tracks, and they did a wonderful job! Mike McGuire is Marty’s old friend and was the drummer for “Shenandoah.”
It’s not just Marty’s vocals that shine so well on this CD. It should be noted that Marty’s brother, Tim Raybon, handled all the harmony vocals. Tim and Marty sing together with an affinity for each other that is marvelous to hear. That “brotherly” intuitiveness shows up again! Listen to how they sound on “Only You, Only You,” and you’ll be as impressed as I am. The ending of the song has the voices moving with a powerful, almost gospel, movement that is simply beautiful to hear. For singers to sing like this, it takes years and years of working on breath control, diaphragm strength, vocal technique and ears listening to the nuances of each other….. OR….. just growin‘ up brothers singin‘ together will get the job done! Either way, Tim and Marty’s harmonies are exquisite!
Of the ten songs on this CD, Marty co-wrote five of them….. three of them with John Fountain. The afore mentioned “Only You, Only You,” which I do believe is my favorite song, the very first tune on the CD, “That Janie Baker,” and “A Little More Sawdust On The Floor.” Every one of them is a winner and qualify as single material. Marty and John definitely need to write together more, and as often as possible! “Janie Baker” is solid, wide open, full steam ahead bluegrass guaranteed to catch your interest. “Sawdust,” has a country, bar room feel that will have you lookin’ for a dance partner. The arrangement is pure bluegrass instrumentation, but the feel would fit just about any honky tonk juke box sittin’ right next to the dance floor. All three songs are lyrically picturesque and melodically catchy and memorable. I haven’t been able to stop humming “Only You” for about a week now! “The Big Burnsville Jail,” co-written with Thom Case and Michael Bonagura is as good an outlaw tale as I’ve heard in years. The defendant in question had more hutzpah, self-assured escape plans, AND self-indulgent ways to spend his ill gotten gains than Butch and Sundance ever thought of. Great lyrical story …… and maybe even a video! Lots of imagery to go with a fun song.
Read the rest of this great review at Presciption Bluegrass’s website here: http://prescriptionbluegrassreviews.blogspot.com/2013/04/cd-review-marty-raybon-back-forty.html
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