THREE TIMELESS BLUEGRASS ALBUMS
THE OSBORNE BROTHERS’ I CAN HEAR KENTUCKY CALLING ME,
MERLE TRAVIS’ TRAVIS PICKIN’ AND
THE PINNACLE BOYS’ HIGH LONESOME BLUEGRASS
NOW AVAILABLE IN DIGITAL FORMAT VIA CMH RECORDS
Three timeless long out-of-print bluegrass albums are being celebrated and made available in digital format for the first time ever. The Osborne Brothers’ I Can Hear Kentucky Calling Me, Merle Travis’ Travis Pickin’ and The Pinnacle Boys’ High Lonesome Bluegrass are all now available via CMH Records at all digital retailers and streaming music services. It has been 35-plus years since these albums were released on vinyl; now audiences can enjoy these classic titles anywhere they are.
On their 1980 LP I Can Hear Kentucky Calling Me, IBMA Hall of Honor and Grand Ole Opry inductees THE OSBORNE BROTHERS–Sonny and Bobby Osborne–compliment their beautiful yet simple sound with a suit of strings. Sometimes wild, sometimes smooth, and always interesting, the album adds up to bluegrass magic. Following the massive success of their 1967 hit “Rocky Top,” the duo collaborated again with legendary husband and wife songwriting team Felice & Boudleaux Bryant for several songs on this album, including the lead title track, “I Can Hear Kentucky Calling Me.” The album also features a wonderful cover of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
Though Merle Travis is known for his brilliant songwriting and fine singing, it is still his guitar playing that remains his most enduring contribution to American music. The syncopated ring of his signature fingerpicking style has gone far beyond the Kentucky coal country where he first heard it as a boy. His earliest recordings were much like the ones included on his 1981 CMH Records instrumental LP release, Travis Pickin’ — simple solo acoustic instrumentals dubbed “Travis Pickin’.” It is with an acoustic guitar that the essence of Travis Pickin’ can best be appreciated, unamplified and unaccompanied in the way Merle first heard the technique played. Every bit of music comes from the hands, the guitar, and the soul of the master, Merle Travis.
Though on any given day the lineup of The Pinnacle Boys could change whimsically, they’ve become known as one of the great Appalachian area bands of the ’70s. The lineup featured on the 1980 album High Lonesome Bluegrass includes a group of talented artists: Bud Brewster, best known for backing Carl Story, featured on guitar and lead vocals, Randall Collins on lead fiddle, Rob Mashburn on bass, Jerry Moore on harmony fiddle and baritone vocal, Mike Pearson on banjo and tenor vocal, Jim Smith on mandolin, Doug Klein on drums, Robby Osborne on drums (Side 1, Bands 1 & 6), led by producer Sonny Osborne. There was something at the heart of the group’s music other than flashy virtuosity, perhaps a bit of their hometown’s sentimental old-time music atmosphere, that made this group truly special to bluegrass music.
These and all of CMH’s diverse bluegrass releases are being serviced by AirPlay Direct, a premiere digital delivery platform that engages radio and airplay worldwide, with a following of over 11,000 radio station members. CMH President David Haerle was awarded the 2018 Iconic Innovator Award by AirPlay Direct and all three of these latest digital releases will be getting exclusive coverage and push by AirPlay Direct, alongside more than half a dozen other CMH favorites. For more on CMH Records on AirPlay Direct, visit www.airplaydirect.com/music/cmhlabelgroup.
Los Angeles-based CMH Records was founded in 1975 by Martin Haerle and has remained dedicated to presenting the finest bluegrass and roots music, making a home for classic artists and their material, as well as stellar recordings from new voices. The label remains a proud family business, run by Martin’s son David. Described by the Los Angeles Times as a “stubborn, curious Silver Lake music company,” the label has been a strong proponent for honest music, and finds success with its classic catalogue–Lester Flatt, The Osborne Brothers, Jim & Jesse, Mac Wiseman, Merle Travis, Grandpa Jones, Carl Story, Don Reno, The Bluegrass Cardinals, The Stonemans and many others–and its ongoing “Pickin’ On” series, which features bluegrass interpretations of contemporary artists, including recent hit albums dedicated to the music of Nirvana and Metallica. The Times piece added that CMH “meets unsung needs in the music industry” and cited its “creative diversification.”
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TO REISSUE CLASSIC BLUEGRASS TITLES IN DIGITAL FORMAT
FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER
INCLUDES ALBUMS FROM FELICE & BOUDLEAUX BRYANT,
JOE MAPHIS WITH ROSE LEE & DALE, AND JOSH GRAVES
OUT MARCH 16
Los Angeles-based CMH RECORDS is digging into their storied vaults and reissuing several of their classic bluegrass titles in digital format for the first time ever. The first wave of releases, out March 16, includes A Touch of Bryant from Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, Dim Lights, Thick Smoke from Joe Maphis w/ Rose Lee & Dale, and Sing Away the Pain from Josh Graves.
Available now in digital format after being out of print for over 30 years, A Touch of Bryant is the only album ever recorded by the legendary husband and wife songwriting team Felice & Boudleaux Bryant. The Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees gave us such classics as “Rocky Top,” “I Can Hear Kentucky Calling Me,” “Love Hurts” and many more. With over 6,000 songs written–1,500 of which were recorded by artists such as The Everly Brothers, Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris, and The Osborne Brothers–the 12 tracks on this collection are a mere glimpse of the astounding talent of the Bryants.
Dubbed one of the flashiest country guitarists of the 1950s and 1960s, capable of playing numerous stringed instruments with great facility, Joe Maphis was known as The King of the Strings. His hit song “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music),” co-written with his wife Rose Lee and Max Fidler, has become a honky-tonk standard with countless artists recording versions of the tune, including Flatt & Scruggs, Dwight Yoakam, John Prine, Marty Stuart, Vern Gosdin, and Daryle Singletary, among others. Joe and Rose Lee often collaborated, and their son Dale is also featured on this album of the same name, Dim Lights, Thick Smoke, in keeping with Maphis’ tradition of making his records a family affair. It’s no surprise that Maphis was also close with the Carter family (and Johnny Cash), and this album features the song “Mother Maybelle,” written in honor of the family matriarch, Maybelle Carter.
Considered the first player to bring dobro into bluegrass, Josh Graves’ raw, blues-based style would prove a major influence on later masters such as Mike Auldridge and Jerry Douglas. His dobro is featured prominently on legendary records by Foggy Mountain Boys–including Songs of Glory, Songs of the Famous Carter Family, Flatt and Scruggs at Carnegie Hall, Town and Country, and Hear the Whistle Blow–and his sound was an integral part of the famous quartet, The Masters, as well as Flatt’s Nashville Grass. On Sing Away the Pain, Graves’ dobro style is a defining feature of the bluegrass sound. He played fast and loud, while also creating extremely sensitive melodic backing to bluesy ballads and slower gospel numbers. The album, produced by and featuring guitar contribution from Graves’ son Billy Troy, also features legendary fiddler Vassar Clements, the father of hillbilly jazz.
CMH Records was founded in 1975 by Martin Haerle and was dedicated to presenting the finest Bluegrass and roots music, making a home for classic artists and their material, as well as stellar recordings from then new voices. The label remains a proud family business, run by Martin’s son David. Described recently by the Los Angeles Times as a “stubborn, curious Silver Lake music company,” the label has been a strong proponent for honest music, and has found success with its classic catalogue and its ongoing “Pickin’ On” series, which features bluegrass interpretations of contemporary artists, including recent hit albums dedicated to the music of Nirvana and Metallica. The Times piece added that CMH “meets unsung needs in the music industry” and cited its “creative diversification.”