Monday, February 11, 2013

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice - The Story of the Day That I Died

 Junior Sisk

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice have released a new CD on the Rebel Records label called "The Story of the Day That I Died" which has all the features that come together to make a first rate contemporary traditional bluegrass music album.  There are twelve songs, nine of which are originals written for or by the the band.  The new music sounds like traditional bluegrass but is fresh and lively. Sisk's voice is distinctive; he can be identified after two or three notes. Propelled by the driving Scruggs style banjo of Jason Davis, the front-of-the-beat bass of Jason Tomlin, and Chris Davis' powerful chop, the band is as hard driving as they come. Billy Hawks fiddle work is clear, melodic, and strong.  No band in bluegrass music today can offer a better traditional sound than Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice. The CD was recorded by the band you see at festivals and in other live venues. This is a good thing.

The songs for this collection are, on the whole, spot on. The title song by Ashby Frank is a humorous song that hints at the singers suicide while he escapes to a glorious anonymous life in Mexico.  Lover's Quarrell (Public Domain) is a plaintive love song seeking to heel the problems. Junior often selects songs of the get even she-done-me-wrong type. I must say that "Old Bicycle Chain" takes this genre song a step too far in suggesting the use of a bicycle chain as an appropriate means of discipline. Spousal abuse is not the stuff of humor.  Several gospel songs are well written and well-placed. "Walking in Good Company" by Junior and his Dad is fine. The two "Home" songs, one by David Carroll and the other by Daniel Salyer are both tuneful and evocative. Ronnie Bowman contributes a "used-to-drink" song called "If the Bottle was a Bible." While the album will not be released until mid-March, Junior is currently selling from his merch table at festivals. The album is well worth buying for both fans of traditional bluegrass music and Junior Sisk.

Jason Davis

Jason Tomlin

Billy Hawks

Chris Davis
Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice