“Jail Break” by Cindy G

Cindy G
Jail Break
Blue Road Records

By Aaron Keith Harris

It’s always nice to hear a new bluegrass artist with a style apart from what we’re accustomed to.  Both Cindy G’s warm, inviting singing voice and her descriptive songwriting could fit right in with modern folk singer-songwriters (especially “Kiss Me,” “Never Happy,” and “Words”), but there’s plenty of subject matter that’s pure bluegrass—and so is the wall of strings built by producer/fiddler Jim VanCleve that includes Bryan Sutton (guitar), Aaron Ramsey (mandolin), Scott Vestal (banjo), Todd Phillips (bass), and Rob Ickes (Dobro).

That all-star lineup combines with Cindy’s words to give songs like “Wilds of Wise County,” “Sounds of War,” and “Living Picture (The Story of the Mather Mine)” a cinematic quality, while Sam Bush (mandolin) and Seth Taylor (guitar) spell Sutton and Ramsey on the suitably hard-driving title track and the groovy, witch-haunted “Hexie.” Rhonda Vincent sings harmony on “Jail Break.”

With all that, plus covers of “Ruby, Are You Mad?” and “Sitting on Top of the World,” that feature simmering new arrangements and seductive vocals, Cindy G has made a solid record that appeals to bluegrass die-hards along with a wider audience.