Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Review -- HARD RYDE -- Stages

STAGES
Hard Ryde
Independent
9.5-out-of-10
Ah just how sweet is turning on the CD player and hearing the strains of a musical genre you love dearly, but rarely seem to hear in terms of new music these days?Well, in the case of Hard Ryde is was darned sweet.When the first strains of Hold Onto Your Heart began to flow through the headphones, and I heard the familiar sounds that mark bluegrass, mandolin, bass, fiddle and banjo, I was smiling.Of all the varieties of country music which exist, I like bluegrass best, past bands such as Steel Rail and Tumbleweed forever holding a special place in my musical heart.Well, I can now add Hard Ryde to that all too short list, of wonderful Canadian bluegrass bands.The great thing about Hard Ryde is they don't hide who they are. There are country bands who occasionally offer up a bluegrass tune, or add some bluegrass strains to more mainstream country cuts. Not here. This is bluegrass from start to finish, for 11 sweetly tantalizing tunes.It is pure joy to relax and listen to songs such as If You Don't Go, a tune written by Hard Ryde guitarist and vocalist Doug de Boer. Past The Point of Rescue is another winner.And, wait until you hear Lonesome Road Blues, a number by the famous Earl Scruggs. It's a chance for D'Arcy Campbell to let fly with some killer banjo work, work matched by Will Meadows on mandolin.Tyler Beckett is the fiddle man in Hard Ryde, and he too can flat out play.Rich Koop on bass and vocals and Marc Roy on guitar round out this fine sextet.In terms of material, Hard Ryde mixes original, covers and traditional material.There are some great efforts here, the sad Weak In The Knees, written by Melissa Sherman, and a rendition of the traditional Blue-Eyed Boston Boy and Ridin' On The Midnight Train.As an overall package there really doesn't seem to be a weakness here. There is not one song I would have suggested they leave on the studio floor. In fact, if you like bluegrass at all, you will wish they had added more songs, or that they are at least heading to the studio again soon for another CD.Of course this is a veteran band with three previous CDs, material I know I am going to have to search out myself after hearing this gem.Purely fantastic. Buy it! Now!Check them out at www.hardryde.ca
-- CALVIN DANIELS

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Oct. 15, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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