Published in Bluegrass Unlimited, June 1999. Used with permission.

The Travelers

Ridin' The Lines

Hay Holler HH-CD-1342

Ridin' The Lines / How Could I Love Her So Much / On Chariots of Fire / Shadow of a Man / Lonely Lady / Who Throwed That Rock / A Little Left Over / Before The Battle / I'm Over You / I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday / She Did It For The Love / Keep On Going / Lord What A Way To Go

The Travelers are Norman Wright, Kevin Church, Jason Owen and Spider Gilliam. Wright and Church are probably best known to bluegrass fans - Wright played mandolin with the Bluegrass Cardinals on some of their finest recordings while banjo player Church, the son of legendary banjo player Porter Church, played with the Gentlemen, Paul Adkins and the Borderline Band and the Jimmy Gaudreau Unit. Owen and Gilliam maybe aren't as well known but they're veteran players, too. Until now, the Travelers have worked mostly as sidemen, and Ridin' The Lines shows that they've learned their craft perfectly.

All of the critical elements of a successful recording come together on Ridin' The Lines. The arrangements are tight and the material is terrific, featuring a host of band originals, some interesting covers (I'm Over You, originally done by Keith Whitley and How Could I Love Her So Much from Hugh Moffatt) and even some ambitious reaches outside of bluegrass (Asleep At The Wheel's I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday). This is indisputably bluegrass music at its finest. Wright is a sophisticated and mature songwriter, and his fine craftsmanship is shown off on the breathtakingly powerful Shadow Of A Man, the tale of a homeless Vietnam veteran.

The performance is top-notch, with hard-driving banjo, tight harmonies and a pulsing rhythm section. All of the best elements of bluegrass come together on Ridin' The Lines. Compliments to the Travelers and Hay Holler Records for a stellar recording. Ridin' The Lines is a pure jewel. It gets my highest recommendation.

(Hay Holler Records, Inc., P. O. Box 868, Blacksburg, VA 24063)

Archie Warnock, [email]

Archie's BU Review Page