Donna Ulisse will be celebrating the release of her new CD Showin' My Roots with a visit to the WSM studios this morning, October 15, at 9:15 a.m. for the Coffee, Country & Show. Along with Donna will be her band The Poor Mountain Boys to perform some of the songs off of the CD. Bill Cody will also be playing some tracks off the album and interviewing Donna. Tune in online at www.wsmonline.com
Showin' My Roots is a tribute to Ulisse's musical heros including Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Bonnie Owens & Ralph and Carter Stanley. After releasing six albums since 2007, of nearly all original material she either wrote or co-wrote, she felt it was time to honor some of her great musical influences as well as record songs which have been the bedrock of her musical life. The songs are in no way random choices and they are bookended by two songs she co-wrote with her husband, bandmate and frequent co-writer Rick Stanley. The album also includes a duet with newgrass icon Sam Bush on the song "Take This Hammer."
Donna breathes new life into these songs with her magnificent voice, as warm and supple as ever, backed by some of the finest musicians in bluegrass music. Ulisse co-produced Showin' My Roots with acoustic guitar virtuoso Bryan Sutton, and the supporting cast includes Scott Vestal on banjo, Rob Ickes on Dobro, Andy Leftwich on mandolin and fiddle,and Viktor Krauss and Byron House on upright bass. Sam Bush duets on the traditional work song "Take This Hammer," and harmony vocalists include John Cowan, Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle, Fayssoux McLean, Larry Stephenson, Frank Solivan, Jerry Salley and Rick Stanley, Ulisse's husband and band mate.
The CD has maintained the #1 spot for radio downloads for the month of October on Airplay Direct and will be available at Amazon.com. iTunes, CDBaby, County Sales and www.donnaulisse.com
This is a diverse collection of songs, in tempo and sentiment. The Stanley Brothers (cousins of Ulisse's husband) are represented in songs penned by Carter (the sprightly "How Mountain Girls Can Love") and Ralph (the resigned "lfThat's The Way You Feel"). Ulisse honors two heroes with her spin on Merle Haggard's version of Dolly Parton's "In The Good Old Days When Times Were Bad." "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad," made famous by Tammy Wynette, shows her feisty side, as does Loretta Lynn's "Fist City." She serves up a gorgeously wistful take on Hank Locklin's "Send Me The Pillow You Dream On," and an earnestly prayerful"Wait A little Longer Please Jesus."
Two songs that Ulisse wrote with her husband bookend this album. Both beautifully illustrate the love that went into this project. The album-opening title track is an ode to those whose "singin' and writin' lit a fire in me": Haggard, Parton, Lynn, Carter Stanley. And "I've Always Had a Song I Can Lean On," closes the album with a message that illustrates the importance music has always played in Ulisse's life.
From beginning to end, Showin' My Roots is as an extended love song to her influences, and one that lovers of bluegrass and traditional country music are sure to enjoy again and again. These timeless performances may well light a fire in generations to come.