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Hit & Run Bluegrass - Beauty Fades (CD, 2004)
by Joe Ross, 06/14/2004
Hit & Run Bluegrass is a Colorado-based band that formed in late 2001. During their short time together, they have already made history by becoming the only band to win both prestigious band contests at Rockygrass and Telluride. Grammy winner Gene Libbea (formerly with the Nashville Bluegrass Band) joined Hit & Run Bluegrass as bass-player/singer for six months in 2003, produced their studio demo, and served as a coach and mentor to them.
For their debut album, the band saved for over six months with the goal of recording the highest quality album possible. In July 2003, they convened at Doobie Shea Studios in Boones Mill, VA and now have a very impressive recording called “Beauty Fades” under their belts to showcase their
“authentic-yet-modern” bluegrass. First class fiddler Aubrey Haynie appears as a special guest.
Todd Livingston is the 2001 Rockygrass Dobro Champion and the writer of “Get Outta Town,” a technically impressive instrumental that pushes the newgrass envelope. John Frazier’s mandolin playing and singing are very proficient, and he contributes three well-penned and thoughtful original songs that he also sings lead on (Trouble & Pain, Cold Iron Door, Goin’ Back to Georgia). “Cold Iron Door” was one that helped them win the Telluride band contest. Banjo champion Aaron Youngberg hails from Fort Collins, CO., and he composed the high-stepping instrumental “Coach’s Stomp.” Erin Coats, from Wyoming, may only be 21-years-old but she’s been playing bass since age nine. The stalwart vocalist sings lead on two numbers (Old, Old House; How I Curse That Man). Originally from Virginia, guitarist Rebecca Hoggan has expert command of her flatpicking and singing abilities. She composed “Beauty Fades” and “How I Curse That Man,” and she sings lead on five songs that also include some selected covers from Porter Wagoner, Rowland Salley, Lisa Aschmann & Mark Simos, and Mitchell Jayne & Joe Stuart.
Among the most promising young bands in the nation today, Hit & Run Bluegrass has clearly emerged as a major force in the market as they introduce a younger demographic to their large body of original music. At the same time, they’ve managed an enchanting magnetic sound that also thrills long-standing bluegrass fans who simply know and enjoy good bluegrass. If these friends can keep it together, stay focused on their band’s goals, maintain their heavy touring schedule, then their greatest is yet to come. They’ve already accomplished a lot, more than many bands can in a lifetime.
This debut album shows that Hit & Run Bluegrass has their music and professional presentation under control. Their business acumen is also top-notch, and bookings will allow us to see them at festivals and venues throughout the west. Pacific Northwest audiences will be able to hear them
at the 2004 Bluewaters and Mt. Hood Festivals in August. My only suggestions for them would be to book some more appearances back east, include the lyrics for their originals in future CD jackets, and use a larger font for their liner notes! Although my eyes may be getting a little fuzzy with the fine 8-point print, my ears are still sharp enough to tell me that Hit & Run Bluegrass is a band clearly marked for great future success. (Joe Ross)