Adventures of a Blue Grass Boy
By Donald Teplyske
Tom Ewing is bona fide bluegrass.
As Bill Monroe’s final lead singer, Ewing played with the Blue Grass Boys for about ten years and appeared on the Grammy-winning Southern Flavor album. Additionally, Ewing played with Earl Taylor and the Stoney Mountain Boys, David Davis and the Warrior River Boys, and Jim & Jesse McReynolds, among others. Ewing has written the “Thirty Years Ago this Month” column for Bluegrass Unlimited, and compiled and edited The Bill Monroe Reader. So, yeah.
Adventures of a Blue Grass Boy harvests tracks from Ewing’s independently-released cassettes of about thirty years ago. There are eight tracks from Take Me Home, as well as three from both Lookin’ Out a Window and It’s Good To Be Home. A wide-range of bluegrass vets from that era appear on multiple tracks, including banjoist Blake Williams, bassists Roy Huskey, Jr, Billy Rose, and Tater Tate, fiddler Glen Duncan, and mandolinsts Mike Compton and Ewing’s father-in-law, Jesse McReynolds. Eight of the numbers are from Ewing’s pen, with standards including “Please Come Back, Little Pal” and “A Distant Land to Roam.”
Unadorned but sounding stellar with song-by-song notes to refresh fading memories, Adventures of a Blue Grass Boy allows these tasteful, compelling performances second life digitally and on CD. Highlights include “Take Me Home,” written with Mr. Monroe in mind, “The Old Hometown,” “Willie Moore,” and the original “Old Friend.”
A good set of bluegrass.