Brenda Reviews Garry Brewer: House of Axes

Sep 8, 2023 | Brenda and the Reviews

Gary Brewer: House of Axes

Song List: Old Brown Case, Southern Flavor, Sourwood Ridge, White Horse Breakdown, Old Minor Joe Clark, The Little Rosewood Casket, Tom Rock Twist, Foggy Mountain Top/Lonesome Road Blues, Little Brown Jug.

Gary Brewer’s musical roots stretch back over six generations and his own career has been going strong for the last forty years. His Kentucky Ramblers band was formed in 1980 and their 40th Anniversary Celebration album was on the Billboard charts for many weeks in 2020. Gary’s sound studio in Louisville and his promotion of many bluegrass festivals in that city have made him an icon of the area.

Gary has also collected classic acoustic guitars over the years and his collection ranges from a rare 1899 Martin 0 model to his favorite 1941 Herringbone D28.

The album features 9 guitars and 9 songs with solo guitar showcasing not only Gary’s masterful playing but the nuances of sound that he coaxes out of each instrument.

“Old Brown Case” is a Norman Blake guitar, and Gary’s picking and recording brings a crisp and mellow tone to the notes with the marvelous rumble of the lower strings contrasting to the higher tones in rapid succession. Guitar players will want to put this song on repeat many times. Bill Monroe’s “Southern Flavor” is performed on a Martin guitar special Porter Wagoner edition and Gary brings out the robust tone of this guitar. Gary plays a Mossman guitar on another Monroe song, “White Horse Breakdown.”

“Sourwood Ridge” is Gary’s adaptation of the traditional song “Sourwood Mountain,” and he adds some flourishes that change the flavor of the song. “Old Minor Joe Clark” is another adaptation of a traditional song,, but Gary’s switch to minor key variations on the melody brings new life to an old song. Gary wrote “Tom Rock Twist” is played on a 1997 Stelling Gary Brewer special edition guitar and the rendition is full of melodic twists and turns and a spry rhythm.

Most of the guitars are D sized Martins, but Gary owns a 1899 028 that he purchased from the daughter of the original owner. He uses the parlor sized guitar to play the old AP Carter song “Foggy Mountain Top” and “Lonesome Road Blues” and the finger style picking fits the up close and personal range of the guitar. This is a delightful album with some fine guitar playing.

High Fidelity: Music in My Soul

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