Benson: Pick Your Poison
Song List: Icy Cold, I’ll Follow the Sun, The Fest of Rudy, Look At Me Now, Red Mountain Wine, Oh Me of Little Faith, What Kind of Fool Are You?, Conway, Living in These Troubled Times, Riverside.
Wayne and Kristin Scott Benson have each forged starring roles in two acclaimed bluegrass bands, but this is their first collaboration album. Kristin has been the banjo player for the Grascals, and Wayne has been the mandolin player for the Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. With the pandemic closing down musical touring, musicians had time to work on individual projects, and the Bensons combined their mandolin and banjo into original instrumentals and gathered musician friends to fill out band formations and vocals.
Former Grascal Jamie Johnson and Mickey Harris (Rhonda Vincent and the Rage) join forces in the Beatles’ song “I’ll Follow The Sun” which has a bright and bouncy banjo accompaniment. Jim van Cleve adds fiddle, and Cody Kilby plays guitar on this perfectly “grassified” song. Mickey sings the lead vocal on the high stepping bluegrass “Red Mountain Wine.” It’s a song with a an awesome banjo and speedy mandolin and the lure of refined moonshine. “Icy Cold” features Grayson Lane on the lead vocal, and the seasonal life with cold winters, hay mowing in summer, and the changes in fall and spring are brought to life in this chronicle of rural life. Wayne wrote the three instrumentals on the album and his “The Fest of Rudy” features an all-out mix of banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and guitar with power play leads and pulsing rhythm. “Riverside” slows down the tempo, and a melodic pattern flows from the banjo, guitar, mandolin, and fiddle. Care and attention to the mix of songs makes the whole experience a delight.