BOB STUMP & THE BLUE MOUNTAIN BAND Bob Stump & The Blue Mountain Band
The self-released six-song sampler CD from upstate New York’s Bob Stump & The Blue Mountain Band may well be the best bargain extant in roots music. Stump (guitar, vocals, songwriter), Roy Coates (bass, harmony vocals) and Tom White (fiddle, mandolin, harmony vocals), supplemented on half the tracks by the formidable Bill Keith on banjo, Andy Bing on dobro and mandolin and Guy "fooch"Fischetti on fiddle, go about their business with an easygoing grace, telling tales both poignant and warm-hearted, drawn as much from the ache as from the exhilaration of life on the road. After five of these, they sign off with a sprightly, Irish-tinged instrumental, “Temperance Reel,” all open vistas and exuberant spirits, optimistic and purposeful, with some tasty flatpicking from Stump engaging White’s empathetic fiddling in spirited dialogue. To get to this bountiful horizon, you start with a gentle, lilting country lament from the heart’s loneliest hour, “Missing You,” set on the road to somewhere minus the object of its deepest yearnings. “I’m so far away from home/so far from the things worth holding on to,” the fellows offer in poignant harmony, and en route Stump’s vivid lyrics pinpoint the desultory, unchanging interstate landmarks compelling him to get his soul’s bearings back in order, “the way I loved you, the way you loved me too.” The banjo plunks out a lonesome melody, the fiddle hums low and somber, and Stump sings with a plain, downhome sincerity; he’s not going to win any American Idol-like competitions, thank God, but the more you listen to him, the more you feel the simple honesty of his words. The opening theme continues and is expanded in a genial toe-tapper, “Walk With You,” a vow of abiding love before and beyond the grave, with White’s eager but measured mandolin solos nicely balancing energy and restraint. In what amounts to a countrified, high stepping version of “It Was A Very Good Year” titled “Pretty As a Flower,” Stump offers a fond, warm chronicle of where love began and how it deepened as a couple aged, winding up with the man at 95 and anticipating seeing his beloved again in the next life. Very good years, indeed, and part of the joy of Stump’s testimonial is his exuberant, between-verses flatpicking out of the Doc Watson school. On the other hand, in “Roadside Attraction,” Stump and the Blue boys take a lively, wry look at the detritus of a failed romance and what becomes of the broken-hearted, while also tackling the dark theme of redemption arising in the wake of addiction and imprisonment in “Long Road Home,” in which the narrator, trying to correct his destructive ways, moans, “Where’s my wife and my kids?” A preacher counsels, “You got to walk that path alone at night,” Andy Bing steps in with a pungent dobro solo that underscores the unsettled issues afflicting the singer; and when all join in harmony to sing—make that chant--“It’s been a long…it’s been a long….it’s been a long….way…home,” the challenge ahead looms ever more ominous. On the band’s website Stump says he seeks to paint “the American landscape in words and music.” The landscape in question is as much about inner geography as it is the lay of the land—and every bit as affecting. Anyone who has a heart will want to take this trip. –David McGee
"I am playing a cut on this Sunday's show. Nice work!"
BILL KNOWLTON, "Bluegrass Ramble," Sundays: 9 pm to midnight (EST) over WCNY-FM (91.3) Syracuse, WUNY (89.5) Utica, WJNY (90.9) Watertown NY, also: www.wcny.org email@example.com Since 1973! PO Box 2400, Syracuse NY 13220-2400. 315-457-6100
Here is what Susan Rose from WDVR has to say.......
I forgot to mention in an earlier CD that...I'm slow in returning e-mail. I do apologize for my tardiness. I've been listening to the great sample CD from you and The Blue Mountain Band and will definitely give air-play.
Right off the bat, Missing You caught my ear. I can close my eyes and feel as if I was the one traveling down Hwy. 95. Vocals are clear, instrumentation compliments the lyrics. Simply put, overall composition is great. I'll have to say this song is my favorite. It will fit in perfectly during my early morning program.
I also enjoy a similar feeling from Long Road Home, Walk With You, Roadside Attraction, and Pretty As A Flower. Temperance Reel is a fine tuned instrumental that I'll use as my featured 7:00am instrumental (at a future date). But again, I'm a little slow. As for this Wednesday - 2/24/2010, I'm devoting most of the program to my idol, Dr. Ralph Stanley. I just returned from one of his birthday celebrations in Kingsport, TN., and must say that Dr. Ralph looks great at 83.
Thank you so very much for sending the CD to us here at WDVR. Check us out on the web when you can. We are a diversified, independent radio station celebrating 20 years in broadcasting. I'll also encourage my fellow DJs to air your songs as well.
Here's what Jim Rogers the producer and host of Modern Troubadoursand FolkTime! at WIUP-FM Indiana PA has to say..........
Bob, Loved every track. Thanks for sending it. Great musicianship, wonderful harmonies. I played "Roadside Attraction" on my FolkTime! program this morning and will be airing other tracks over the next several weeks. My compliments to you and Blue Mountain Band members. Best wishes, safe travels, Jim
Request line- 724.357.5652
Here is a blurb from The Reading Eagle in Reading PA . We were headliners at this wonderful event. This was the Berks County 29th annual Fiddle Festival and we were proud to be a part of it. Special guest Jerry Oland joined us on 5 String Banjo.