Filed by Casey Phillips
BRIAN BLAYLOCK. "Lonely Man Blues." Independent.
The Scenic City is certainly no stranger to good bluegrass, but with a musician like Brian Blaylock around, the statement isn't just good, "considering he's from Chattanooga," it's flat amazing. Period.
Whether on guitar, mandolin or banjo, Blaylock is a multi-instrumentalist on a completely different level, and his skills are more than worthy of the laurels he receives locally. With the release of "Worried Man Blues," his 12-track, inaugural album, Blaylock's virtuosity is certain to achieve wider recognition.
Of course, Blaylock may be talented, but he's far from a one-man band. The stable of guest musicians includes (deep breath) -- Randy Barnes (vocals, bass), Danny Barnes (vocals), Kent Blanton (bass, snare), Darrell Webb (vocals), Jr. Williams (vocals), Kati Penn (vocals, fiddle), Jason Carter (fiddle), Carl Caldwell (vocals), Bobby Osborne (vocals), Gordy Nichol (steel guitar), Barry Scott (vocals) and Beth Lawrence (vocals).
Despite the title, from the opening banjo rolls of "Loneliness & Desperation" until the lapsteel fades out of "What a Friend We Have In Jesus," the last thing Blaylock needs to worry about is listeners being blue. This is high, rollicking bluegrass played by a stable of extremely talented individuals.
It's not surprising to see that no song credits Blaylock with a single instrument. For "One Kiss Away From Loneliness," he wears five hats, playing banjo, guitar and mandolin, all while providing both baritone and low tenor vocals. This guy is amazing.
If he's not singing backup, he's providing powerful leads on the titular "Worried Man Blues" or the mournful "Blue Virginia Blues" or lending multiple instrumental breaks to firecrackers like "Limehouse Blues," which ticks along with a time-bomb-urgent pace.
Just be careful listening to "Worried Man," because it'd be pretty easy to get spoiled on the whole genre.
E-mail Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org