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MP3 Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition - Making Memories

This third project from Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition takes us back to our traditional roots in this American music that we grew up listening to.
"Coming from the Washington, DC/Baltimore, MD area, where Bluegrass music has a rich heritage.

14 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Bluegrass, COUNTRY: Traditional Country

In 1996 when Jay Armsworthy made his first solo recording, he was “Just Lookin’ For Fun” (ET-CD-1001). Seven years later with his band, Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition, they were “Still Havin’ Fun” (ET-CD-1002). Now with veteran musicians Tom Gray and Marc Bolen along with Mike Phipps, Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition are “Making Memories” (ET-CD-1003) .

“Making Memories” is the title of the 3rd and latest CD by Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition as well as song #5. “Making Memories” contains 14 songs with a traditional Bluegrass sound which is the roots of the band. The CD contains some obscure songs that you don’t hear other bands do, as well as an original written by J.C. Poff, “Dirty Old Couch and Chair”, that has never been recorded by anyone else before. There’s also some classic country tunes here that have been recreated in a traditional Bluegrass style including, “Blue House Painted White”, “Stranger In My Home”, which features for the first time on recording, Tom Gray singing lead, “You’re The Only Good Thing”, and also instrumentally, “Help Me Make It Through The Night”.

A Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition recording is not complete without adding at least one gospel tune to the repertoire and here they have included three. The old standard hymn “How Great Thou Art”, “Ship From The Kings Harbor Shore”, and an old song once sang by Kitty Wells, “Singing On Sunday”. This is one that will surely become a favorite!

Marc Bolen has played banjo with such groups as Charlie Moore, George Winn, and Jimmy Martin. There’s also an instrumental that he used to do with the “King of Bluegrass” titled “Big Country”. A couple of Carter Stanley originals are here, “How You’ve Tortured My Mind” and ”Girl Behind the Bar” which Tom Gray recorded in the 60’s with the Classic Country Gentlemen. Other tunes include Jim & Jesse’s “Congratulations Anyway” and Don Reno & Red Smiley’s “I’m Jealous of You”.

Down south of Washington, D.C., a band of bluegrass practitioners are preserving a traditional sound without relying on dazzling displays of speed and melodic invention. Instead, Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition execute their music with keen insight for their bluegrass and classic country. In 1995, guitarist Armsworthy worked with David Davis and the Warrior River Boys. I presume that he started this band shortly after leaving Davis, and
the group has had a few personnel changes over the years. "Making Memories" is their third release and also features Tom Gray (bass), Mike Phipps (mandolin) and Marc Bolen (banjo). All but Bolen sing lead and harmony vocals. Given the nature of their repertoire, it might have been nice to include a guest fiddler or resophonic guitarist to round out and enhance their overall sound.

The four band members bring over a century of bluegrass experience to the group. Armsworthy has been performing since age ten. For 7 years, he hosted the "Bluegrass on the Bay" show on radio stations in Lexington Park, Maryland. His solo recording project is called "Just Lookin'' For Fun." Phipps has played with Fred Travers, and The Dixie Ramblers (with Keith Arneson). Bolen has played banjo for over three decades, performing with George Winn, Carolina Grass, Charlie Moore, and Jimmy Martin and various Florida solo artists. Gray is the only bassist inducted into the IBMA Hall of Honor. He played with Seldom Scene from 1971 until 1987 when he went to
work with Paul Adkins. He''s also played with Gary Ferguson, Roger Green, Fred Travers, Federal Jazz Commission, Hazel Dickens Band, and Randy Barrett
and the Barretones.

The 14 cuts include a nice mix of obscure bluegrass and classic country material, most presented with a relaxed approach. Songs are drawn from Carter Stanley, Aubrey Holt, Jim & Jesse, Ray Pennington, Kris Kristofferson, and others. Fitting comfortably like an old shoe, their music
is calming and unlikely to offend anyone. "Dirty Old Couch and Chair" is a catchy, new song written by J.C. Poff about four walls, two windows, and a couple other items left after a life-long love affair. I understand that "I''m a Stranger in My Home," a ¾-time song penned by Neal Burris, Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart is the first time that Tom Gray''s lead vocal has ever been recorded. Roy Botkin''s "Singing on Sunday" is guaranteed to get your
toes tapping. Jay Armsworthy and Eastern Tradition certainly have drive in their music, but I wouldn''t call it real hard driving. Rather, it has a very pleasant, affable and kind-hearted quality. (Joe Ross-staff writer for Bluegrass Now magazine and various Internet sites)

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