Ron Block - Hogan's House Of Music

Published Saturday 28th November 2015
Ron Block - Hogan's House Of Music
Ron Block - Hogan's House Of Music

STYLE: Country
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Dave Brassington

For his fourth solo album, the highly regarded member of Alison Krauss's Union Station offers an instrumental banjo project with no vocals whatsoever. To begin with the title, some research tells us that this was the name of Ron's father's music shop where he first began to appreciate traditional bluegrass exponents such as the Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs. Unlike Block's three previous solo albums there is surprisingly no gospel material. However nine of the 16 tracks are Ron's own compositions. The original compositions, including "Carter's Creek Pike" which may be a tribute to the famous Carter Family, are nicely mixed with some more well-known pieces such as Ralph Stanley's "Clinch Mountain Backstep"; "Lonesome Road Blues" which both Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs recorded; "Gentle Annie", a very catchy Stephen Foster southern tune; and "Seneca Square Dance" which is just that! The great Jimmie Davis country standard "You Are My Sunshine" is obviously aimed at attracting maximum radio airplay, whilst the closer "Home Sweet Home" is another popular sentimental tune that works very well as an instrumental. What stands out is the wonderful banjo tone throughout, as sometimes banjo players go for speed and not tone. Backed up by a fantastic alumni of top musicians, of course with the other members of Union Station heavily featured on fiddle, dobro, guitar and mandolin, the whole album makes for rewarding listening.

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