Brenda reviews Steve Gulley & Tim Stafford’s Still Here

Bluegrass fans will recognize the Blue Highway and Mountain Heart bands, and their lead singers, Tim Stafford and Steve Gulley, have been acclaimed as talented lead singers and songwriters.  The two men have been writing songs together for many years, and this collection of heartfelt and poignant songs is also a tribute to Steve who passed away shortly after the project was completed.

Steve and Tim’s voices blend together well and the harmonies add extra power to the solo vocals.  Joining them are instrumentalists Ron Stewart on banjo and fiddle, Barry Bales on bass, Thomas Cassell on mandolin, with harmony vocals from Dale Ann Bradley.

“Back When It Was Easy” is a nostalgic look back at the past with three channel TV, news two times a day, contrasting with a life now filled with “races I can’t win.”  The duet harmonies and mixture of mandolin and guitar flow through the song.  The interplay of a “heartbreak machine” and a “poster child for girls gone wild,” is a keen observation of the games played in the new social meet ups.  The drifting apart in relationships is observed in “He’s Trying To Tell You Something” and the loss of a loved one’s memory is examined in “She Comes Back To Me When We Sing.”  Coping with life’s twists and turns are in “She Threw Herself Away” and “My Last Excuse To Drink.”  “There Ain’t No Good Way to Go” is a wry banjo fused look at departures final and frequent: “you can write your ending, but you won’t be attending, there’s no use in keeping score.”