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Sweet-voiced, modern-day bluegrass / country singer, songwriter and fiddle player too, Summer Brooke shows off her talent (although they brought in Tim Crouch to play fiddle on this occasion) on her latest album with her band. The Mountain Faith Band is a fine set of players; made up of Cory Platt (mandolin, vocals), Nick Dauphinais (guitar, vocals) and her brother, Brayden McMahan (banjo, vocals) Sylva, North Carolina native Summer Brooke McMahan and the band have been performing since 2000. Yet it wasn’t till they competed on NBC’s America’s Got Talent in 2015 their fortunes took a sudden upturn. Since which time the quartet have appeared on the Grand Ole Opry more than once and, shared the stage with Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn and Charlie Daniels. In 2016 were named The Atlanta Braves Band of The Year, and they have since played at numerous sporting events.
The progressive bluegrass band have others additional to Crouch in the form of Aaron Ramsey (bass), John Gardner (drums), Seth Taylor (electric guitar), Josh Schilling (piano) and Jet Willis (whistle on Celtic tune “God’s Blessing”) all drop by. Otherwise Brooke and The Mountain Faith Band handle the duties, and with them merging the sounds of New Grass with a hint of swing on the busy “Lead Me On”, and with a bundle of super smart picking instrumental “Jawbone Hill” complement title cut “Small Town Life” (Roger Browning, Robert Ricotta) as Brooke sings how it is back home.
On rewinding to the albums’ opening segment of tunes the music sounds are very much in the vein one would expect from an Alison Kruass & Union Station, Punch Brothers influenced ensemble. Listening to the record you might think bluegrass and country music has never been closer. I hope real bluegrass music isn’t going to be entirely swallowed up by the Nashville country conglomerate.
Awash in happy rhythms and grooves “Perfect Day” has a summery feel to it; and with it supported by the likewise, excellent “Umbrella”, “Lazy River” and with a little more imagination (more whistle) “Queen’s Anne’s Revenge” skips merrily through the Appalachian foothills. Though a little more edge to their work wouldn’t come amiss Brooke and co have a pleasant new album on offer.