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Blue York

By John Thomas Oakes & Grand Central

Review By Michael Browns

John Thomas Oaks and his band Grand Central are definitely at the forefront of the contemporary Bluegrass music scene. 

Their current independent label project, "Blue York" is filled with sixteen.... that's right sixteen tracks.... of Bluegrass songs telling stories of living in the "Big Apple".  

While they are a solid contemporary Bluegrass band, it's easy to find traditional Bluegrass music values in their music.

Their Bluegrass has been called, "Big Apple-achian Citygrass Music" and that definitely describes their style. They use traditional Bluegrass instruments... guitar, banjo, mandolin, upright bass, Dobro and fiddle for the most part but on occasion they incorporate a harmonica and piano.

 All the members of the band are excellent musicians and singers... they have great harmonies and solid solo voices as well.

According to the band's Facebook entry, their musical influences are Mindy Smith, Alison Krauss, Tom Waits, Del McCoury 

The band leader, John Thomas Oaks has a very impressive resume.

 - Bachelor of Music in Studio Music and Jazz from the University of Tennessee

- Composer, Lyricist, Pianist, Music Director

- Worked in Film, Television and Radio Broadcasting

One more thing to JT Oaks' credit, he's a trusting and generous man. Here's what he has on his web site about buying the new CD... "Also, if you can’t afford the full price, we can send you a copy of the CD that has 10 of the songs on it for whatever you can afford (even if that means nothing!).  Just send us an email, and we’ll pop one in the mail to you!"

The most unusual track on the CD is the last one, "All The Way Back Home To NYC" as they use a banjo and believe it or not, someone is playing a saw! The song begins with the band sitting around discussing the finishing touches on the lyrics of the song.

 I am thoroughly enjoying this CD and will definitely be playing several of the tracks on my show over the next several months.


Michael L. Browns

Host of "Deep Cut Bluegrass" on The Bluegrass Mix






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Page Last Updated On 11/30/2009