Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers
3.5 stars (out of 5)
Many remember Joe Mullins for his world-class banjo and tenor vocal work with the Traditional Grass and with Longview.
Not everyone knows that for the last several years, Joe has been making his living with his growing Classic Country Radio enterprise in southwest Ohio, with AM stations in Xenia (1500), Wilmington (1090) and Eaton (1130), and online at www.myclassiccountry.com. He also promotes the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival (somusicfest.com), a twice-yearly indoor festival that gets more popular every year.
A never-ceasing demand for his banjo playing and a need to make the occaisional promotional appeaance led him to create the Radio Ramblers, and bluegrass fans are the better for it.
Joe’s banjo rings out string and clear on Allen Shelton’s “Bending the Strings.” That track, along with “East Tennessee Blues,” also showaces the fine instrumental work of Dry Branch Fire Squad alumni Adam McIntosh (guitar), Mike Terry (mandolin), Evan McGregor (fiddle) and Tim Kidd (bass).
“Each Minute Seems a Million Years,” “My Blue Eyed Darlin’,” “Baby Girl” and “When I’ve Traveled My Last Mile” all get the old-school bluegrass treatment, the latter with some particularly sweet singing. “Deeper Than the Stain” closes out the 10-song disc with some gorgeous a cappella.
Excepting veterans Mullins and McIntosh, some of the singing and playing here and there is just a bit tentative, but Tuned In is a fine listen and a clear signal that there’s even better music to come.
by Aaron Keith Harris