MP3 Brad Monk - Bradford Monk and the Foggy Hogtown Boys
For people who love traditional Bluegrass music and songwriting, this cd is for you. These songs and stories could have been written and sung my Mr. Munroe himself. This smokin'' hot band will leave you wanting more.
12 MP3 Songs in this album (37:10) !
Related styles: Country: Bluegrass, Country: Country Blues, Mood: Sex Music
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Album: Bradford Monk and the Foggy Hogtown Boys
Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh
When one contemplates the great areas for bluegrass music, there are some places that come readily to mind. Certainly the Appalachian Mountain region, given that it’s typically referred to as the birthplace of the genre or perhaps somewhere in Kentucky, where the bluegrass itself runs wild. And there are some that would even consider places in Texas or Tennessee to be fine hotbeds of this grassroots music. But Canada? Probably not. Yet country-flavored singer/songwriter Bradford Monk is out to change quite a few minds with his latest album, Bradford Monk and the Foggy Hogtown Boys. While Monk’s previous records lent themselves to a self-described “upbeat country” vibe, this latest bleeds bluegrass through and through. Much of that honor goes to Monk’s fine collaborators, The Foggy Hogtown Boys. Monk derived much of his inspiration for the album after hearing the group perform at a record release party and then was fortunate enough to team up with the band for this recording.
“I was inspired to see such talented bunch of performers put together such a such a powerhouse of sound and show,” says Monk. “There aren’t many players around who can keep up with those guys. I wanted to make a bluegrass record that didn’t sound ‘like’ a bluegrass record but was the real deal. There are a lot of rules when it comes to bluegrass songs and arrangements. Things that set it apart from being simply country music played quickly. This record holds true to all those traditions”. Monk’s conclusion on his own album holds true for listeners as well. With the Foggy Hogtown Boys providing an amazingly authentic sonic backdrop, Monk steps forward and delivers the goods lyrically and vocally. With touches of a country-fried Jack White on tracks like album opener “Suzanne” to a more Steve Earle-esque delivery on later tracks like “The Cowboy and Pearl” Monk’s voice commands attention throughout.
And while his vocals draw their own lines, buoyed by the Hogtown Boys’ stirring soundscape, it’s Monk’s accessible and heartfelt songwriting that draw this album into true bluegrass territory. All the familiar themes are here, from playful romance and well-placed harmonies (“Maybe Baby,” “Remember Everyday”), mournful loss (“Rosie”), toe tapping relational angst (“Hold On Darling”), a bit of fiddle-filled gospel (“I’m Alright”), and a fair share of story-based songs on events young and old.
It’s these story-based tracks that steal the show and showcase the best of what Monk’s got to offer. “Bringing Coal” tells the cautionary tale of a lovelorn woman, watching her lover go into the arms of his wife while “Titanic (When the Great Ship Went Down)” taps into a bit of history for it’s subject matter and accents elements with a bit of call and response throughout. And the aforementioned “The Cowboy and Pearl” demands a second listen with its sparse arrangement, accentuated with some nice steel guitar, and lover’s tale of love that holds tight against all odds.
As an added bonus, Monk and Co. offer up some tracks that carry the simple joy of the music along as well. With a track like “Sweet Mary” Monk sings a swinging tale of love for his baby while the Foggy Hogtown Boys let it all out, rocking out with a subdued acoustic arrangement that ebbs and flows, even incorporating finger snaps, and then building to an all too short breakdown. And likewise, the too fun “Too Much Talkin’ Not Enough Drinkin’” delivers the goods, bringing a smile alongside an insistent tap of the toe.
After hearing Bradford Monk and The Foggy Hogtown Boys collaboration here, it’s a safe bet that folks won’t be looking solely to the states for their bluegrass connections anymore. Delivering an authentic sound with enough originality to stand out alongside solid songwriting and vocal prowess, this album is sure to please fans of both country and bluegrass alike.