Not too many marriages last fifteen years these days. For a band to stay together that long, yet still retain a creative spark – and continue to play as though music were as essential as breathing - is a feat worthy of celebration.
Some Day gathers the best material from Blue Highway’s first four discs (one as the credited backing band for a solo outing by guitarist Rob Ickes). And as is customary, there are three new tracks to entice fans who’ve already purchased previous releases.
Apart from sales figures, of course, what constitutes a band’s best work is a subjective exercise. Fans can quibble over individual selections, but there’s no denying that everything included here is top-notch stuff. It’s all impeccably played – no surprise there, as these fine gentlemen are all exceptionally adept instrumentalists. Vocal harmonies are sublime, again not surprising in a genre that places such emphasis on the blending of voices. (In the relatively gentle and generally all-acoustic bluegrass format, singers can’t hide behind the bombast of a big instrumental sound).
Which brings us to the material. There’s lots of traditional sounding bluegrass, but as befits a band determined to explore and expand the genre’s possibilities, there are tunes here that stretch convention a bit. Guest Alison Krauss adds her angelic voice to “The Seventh Angel,” but the track also features percussion, a rarity in bluegrass. “Still Climbing Mountains” is a tune that could easily be adapted to a pop-country treatment, while “Marbletown” was written by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame.
There are two instrumentals - “Monrobro” pays homage to ‘the Father Of Bluegrass,’ Bill Monroe, and the traditional “Elzic’s Farewell” is a delightful exercise in instrumental interplay. They’re offset by two a cappella tunes – “Some Day,” one of the new songs, and “Wondrous Love”, the latter the disc’s closer (it features a short instrumental introduction before the voices take over entirely). The other new songs include the hard-core bluegrass of “Cold And Lowdown Lonesome Blues” and the bluesy “Bleeding For A Little Piece Of Mind.”