Drew Emmitt: Long Road




With his sophomore release Across the Bridge, Drew Emmitt, the dynamic lead vocalist and mandolin player for Leftover Salmon, focused on a more traditional style of bluegrass than the “jamgrass” sound he helped pioneer.  Fast forward three years with the release of Emmitt’s new album, Long Road, which gives us a nice blend of bluegrass, country, and rock’n’roll that is the most refreshing release of 2008.  The guest musicians consist of a “Newgrass” all-star lineup that feature Bill Nershi of String Cheese Incident, Chris Pandolfi and Andy Hall of The Infamous Stringdusters, Alison Brown, Darrell Scott, Eric Thorn, Jeff Sipe, John Cowan, Reese Wynans, Steve Sandifer, and Tyler Grant. 

 

Showcasing Emmitt’s high lonesome vocals, the disc opens with Into the Distance penned by Emmitt and Colorado songwriter, Benny Galloway.  Emmitt’s “heaven” band picks up the pace with the blistering bluegrass number Gold Hill Line featuring dazzling mandolin work by Emmitt.  Drew Emmitt and company really mix things up with the reggae flavor of Beat of the World and the honky tonk swing of Get’er Rollin.  One of the standout tracks on the album includes the reworked version of Marshall Tucker Band’s anthem Take the Highway with great slide work by guitarist Tyler Grant.  Emmitt original I’m Alive starts off slow with quiet banjo and the lyrics “ Lord have mercy I’m alive..” then switches gears into a climatic rock finish that drips with sweaty rock’n’roll.  On the title track, Long Road, Emmitt’s lyrics reflect on his 25 years as a traveling musician with a sound that recall hints of his idol, Sam Bush.  With Long Road, Drew Emmitt delivers his strongest solo record to date and he continues to innovate his style and inspire “Newgrass” acts for decades to come.     

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