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Thursday, March 7, 2013 02:55 am

The Blue G’s CD release


With great honor and satisfaction, plus considerable fanfare, let us announce the release of The Blue G’s debut recording. The self-titled CD, almost two years in the making, holds a wonderful and varied selection of nine songs in the bluegrass music vein. The Springfield-based band celebrates with a show on Friday, March 8, at Donnie’s Homespun. Guest performers include Josie Lowder and Hey Brother (featuring Dave Littrell and Micah Walk), along with Mike Burnett, Luke Turasky and Neill Dresen opening the show at 7:30 p.m.

The band truly intends the night to be more than just a CD release party, using it as a great big thank you to “all our fellow musicians who have jammed with us and alongside us” and for the support of fans, friends and family through the rehearsals, gigs, recording and all else that goes into being a working band. The Blue G’s lineup includes Jonathan Field (fiddle, guitar, vocals), Drew Long (guitar, vocals), Gary Fifer (mandolin), Shane Bumgarner (banjo, guitar, vocals) and Jeff Cunningham (upright bass). Some of these names might ring a bell to you readers familiar with the Springfield music scene as the list of bands that these musicians performed with before (and after, for some) formation of The Blue G’s is long and diverse. The band genres cover many popular American music categories with histories of jazz, funk, country, pop, hard rock and metal influencing the members from previous configurations.

The bluegrass style of music itself is not that old in the history of music, dating back to the 1930s when Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys began meshing hillbilly mountain with black blues and other contemporary music. But what appeals to members of The Blue G’s are the traditions that run through the bluegrass sounds, bringing together centuries of songs into an amalgam of lively and intense acoustic music. The main requirement of bluegrass is the instrumentation and not so much the song choices, though traditionalists might argue otherwise, and The Blue G’s recognize and participate in the standard concoction of mandolin, banjo, fiddle, guitar and standup bass.

After talking with the band as a group, I don’t really have a quote from an individual member that states the overall feeling of the band as a whole and that speaks volumes about the nature of this collection of musicians. They are respectful of each other’s abilities, playing off the strengths of camaraderie and talent, with each member well-suited to their position and place in the band. This may seem an obvious observation, but it’s not always true that band members fit so well together or that the personalities of each musician seems inherent in the choice of instruments. This fitting piece of the music puzzle perhaps explains the vital quality of The Blue G’s music, prompted with a driving sense of urgency to attain not perfection, but that fundamental spot musicians strive for where energy and performance merge to form the wonderful and ephemeral “good feeling” of inexplicable musicality.

The eponymous CD achieves this aim through the long and arduous process of recording, accomplished with the excellent aid and purposeful perseverance of Scott Nichols at his Guitar Pit Studios in Berlin, Ill. Nichols engineered, recorded, mixed and mastered the entire project, and kept the ball rolling, even when the going seemed entirely uphill. Guest musicians include Dave Littrell on saxophone and Chenoa Alamu on violin. The songs on the album cover a gamut of acoustic styles including down-home bluegrass, instrumental numbers, original tunes and blues-influenced tunes, all with a balanced and progressive sound providing not only a good recording, but an excellent record of the present sound of The Blue G’s.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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