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Tom Neal Releases New Bluegrass Experience on "Banjoland"

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BanjolandMike Munford comments on the new Tom Neal album, Banjoland. "I've been waiting for this album for a very long time. The first time I heard Tommy Neal play was at a jam session in Baltimore in 1976, and I became a lifelong fan. The '70s was a decade of wide-open experimentation in bluegrass and in particular the banjo. The melodic style was In full force and outside musical infuences were clearly evident.

"Meanwhile Tommy's firmly traditional background guided his playing toward a strong Scruggs/Crowe approach. However, his keen musical ear was open to any and all banjo styles past and present. If there was an intriguing element in any great player's music, Tommy would capture it with remarkable accuracy. What struck me right between the ears about Tom's playing was his beautiful sense of phrasing and blending of the major banjo styles -- Scruggs, Reno, Crowe, Keith, Munde etc. All of those key ingredients are here for us to enjoy.

"Recorded in three distenetly different sessions, we get to hear Tommy's wide-ranging style.

"You'll notice throughout the-album how he brings both traditional and contemporary touches to the music. Within these sessions we hear traditional Scruggs style, melodic fiddle tunes, Reno style, gospel, ballads, tasteful breaks, supportive backup and some especially fine- original tunes. A real feast for the ears, this collection by Tommy Neal will leave us hungry for more. I'm already waiting for. the next serving."

After listening to this album on the Patuxent Music label, we have to agree. There is something very special eminating from the strings of the instrument and the artist making it sing. Banjoland offers a fresh new musical experience with an extremely broad scope and limitless energy. Tom Neal makes the banjo ring and his backup artists make the entire album a work of art.

Artists found on this latest project include Tom Neal - banjo, Michael Cleveland - fiddle, Mark Cosgrove - guitar, Jon Glik- fiddle, Russ Hooper - dobro, Dick Laird - mandolin, Heath Laird - bass, Marc MacGlashan - mandolin, John Miller - vocal, Tom Mindte - vocal, Jeff Presley - vocal, Ron Rice - bass, Frank Solivan II - mandolin, Carroll Swam - guitar, and Marshall Wilborn - bass.

Tracks on this project include:

  1. "Banjoland"
  2. "Coal Miner's Gold"
  3. "Walt's Breakdown"
  4. "Charmaine"
  5. "Cincinnati Rag"
  6. "Got Enough Love to Hold You On"
  7. "New Camptown Races"
  8. "Reuben"
  9. "Shenandoah Breakdown"
  10. "Calvary"
  11. "Miller's Reel"
  12. "Miss McLeod's Reel"
  13. "Tyler's Tune"
  14. "In His Arms I'm Not Afraid"

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