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New CD Bits&Pieces (5th CD) 2018
As 2017 faded into 2018 and nearly a decade has passed since a small group of musicians gathered into what eventually became the Urban Monroes, the band reflected upon all the transitions of the last few years. People have passed into and out of each member’s life. Homes, cars, trucks, banjos, and guitars have been bought and sold and nearly a billion notes have been played! In reflecting on how all these people, parts and pieces of life have changed, the band also reflected on the music that has been recorded on a variety of band projects. From this, the idea was born to collect the band’s favorite cuts up to this point and put them all on one CD.
Bits & Pieces is an anthology album made up of 15 of those favorite tracks. With cover art showing a quilt assembled by guitarist Fran Kent, her mother and grandmother and cuts collected from the band’s previous recordings, it is a cross section of a musical vision, a road trip where Old Joe Clark and Secret Agent Man smoothly merge onto the same onramp. Fortified by a divine pairing of sublime voices and power picking, with inspiring originals and a driving rootsy style, the view is panoramic. Touring bluegrass’s rural routes with a modern skyline on the horizon, Bits & Pieces rolls downs a backwoods super highway and far from being a trip down memory lane, it is a joy ride down the Appalachian Trail's fast track. Yet, even as Bits & Pieces makes its way out to mark those years of work, the tracks that may be a part of another future anthology, as well as the ensuing projects along the way, are already in the works.
Bits & Pieces is available for DJ downloads at AirPlay Direct (www.airplaydirect.com/urbanmonroes) where it was at #3 on the December APD Global Top 50 Bluegrass chart. DJ’s can also request a hard copy by email directly from the band.
Reviews of Appaloosa Daydream
Review by Fireball Mail Magazine
"Appaloosa Daydream, the Urban Monroes’ third CD release; trots, gallops and sometimes flies across a 10-song soundscape of original and traditional bluegrass music. Songs like the upbeat and vocally divine original, “Lamp in the Window” can take you to a warm fire on a cold night, while the title track prances delightedly in a valley of instrumental bliss. Don’t be fooled by seeing “Little Maggie” on this CD’s track listing either. This is uncharted territory. That recognizable title could not prepare one for this sonic surprise package, with a performance as hauntingly beautiful as it is muscular. Combining motifs from Darling Corey and Little Maggie, the band’s arrangement exchanges energy from moment to moment like the ebb and flow of ocean waves as this trail again leads to the unexpected and exciting.
With enduring arrangements and some clever musical horse sense, the Urban Monroes nimbly negotiate a path to discover the unexplored in the midst of some familiar and some not-so-familiar terrain. The CD lays out that fresh panorama in eloquent testimony of the band’s talent. "
Review by Jamboree Mountain Bluegrass Magazine
"From haunting bluegrass vocal ballads to joyous upbeat instrumentals, Urban Monroes' latest CD Appaloosa Daydream gallops across the bluegrass fields. The view from the saddle offers glimpses of stunning vistas both new and familiar with the Cascades of the band's home range on one hand and the Appalachians on the other.
The fan-friendly release showcases requested concert favorites and is packed with surprises such as the intricately meshed arrangement of Blackberry Shortcake; a refreshing retake of the bluegrass jam session standard Blackberry Blossom. Another is Little Maggie. Rather than just re-shoeing this old war horse and giving it a quick kick, this is an inspired reinvention of the old favorite. While in delightful contrast, the band's old time-ish arrangement of the title track pumps elements of tradition into a new tune.
Appaloosa Daydream offers the chance to gallop, trot, prance and roll in the bluegrass. Urban Monroes have put their brand on each of these tracks and prove they have the ponies to run with anybody. "