Review: Dixie Bee Liners

DIXIE BEE-LINERS – Self-Titled
Self-released, BT-001

www.dixiebeeliners.com
 
The Dixie Bee-Liners are musical raconteurs skilled at telling stories with their all-original songs. Promoting themselves as “bluegrass … with a buzz,” Brandi Hart and Buddy Woodward functioned as a duo – both distinctive vocalists and multi-instrumentalists who have discovered their personalized stylistic footing by casting aside restraints imposed by dogmatic traditionalism. This self-released 2005 debut project for the Dixie Bee-Liners also features Danny Weiss (guitar), Alan Grubner (fiddle), Terry McGill (banjo), Mike Levine (Dobro, pedal steel), Andy Cotton (bass), Bob Mastro (fiddle), and Harley Fine (sound effects, tambourine).
 
Taking note of this hard-working and talented band’s debut effort, Pinecastle Records label has now signed them to their impressive artist roster. What’s all the fuss about? First, their songs have both spiritual and epic qualities. Second, their contemporary leanings exude great potential to attract younger listeners to the genre. Third, I liked the way they provide textures to their music. Pinecastle professional production assistance might not have left the mandolin, banjo or supporting vocals so far back in the mix at times on this debut. Well, guess what? The band’s breakout debut album for Pinecastle will be produced and engineered by the legendary Bil VornDick. I can also imagine the band adding members so there’s a third vocalist in the lineup. That might ease some of the instrumental duties for Woodward who provides mandolin, guitar, banjo, bass, drums and percussion on this disc. Well, hey again! Personnel shifts have occurred as a result of their record deal and relocation. I’m told that the band is now a sextet with Brandi Hart (vocals, guitar), Buddy Woodward (vocals, mandolin, lead guitar), Claiborne Woodall (lead guitar), Rachel Renee Johnson (fiddle), Sam Morrow (banjo) and Jeremy Darrow (upright bass). Because this one’s so short at under half hour, I can hardly wait to hear what comes next from this charming and fascinating group.
 
On this shorter disc, songs like “Davy,” “Lost in the Silence,” Yellow-haired Girl,” and “Lord, Lay Down My Ball & Chain” have the ability to balance pathos with joy. Thus, we listeners experience elation and delight from the harmonizing of contrasting emotions. Without getting into specifics, their repertoire moves a listener because it also draws upon the best elements from both contemporary folk and bluegrass. Musically comfortable together, they have the innate ability to project a consciousness that they are truly going somewhere with their tuneful and captivating approach. That, in a nutshell, is what all the promotion and subsequent commotion are about. (Joe Ross)

www.myspace.com/thedixiebeeliners

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