By David Royko
EDDIE ADCOCK BAND
Talk To Your Heart
Talk To Your Heart/Without You/All I Want Is You/Anything For The Blues/Wrong About You, Tight About Me/A Cold July/A Boy From Arkansas/Your Heart Or Mine/Another Lonesome Morning/After Holding Heaven/He's Taking It Hard/Don't Sweetheart Me/Ed Scales In The Sunset/Too Lonely To Hear The Rain/Call Me The Breeze
The overriding impression cast by this disc is one of smoothness. All sonic rough edges have been carefully bevelled and polished, and the only musical grit remaining is the occasional quirky banjo or guitar thread spun by Eddie Adcock. Those moments stand out in stark relief against the cushy musical bed made by the group.
If airplay is their goal, then this production is perfect, but some listeners may complain that this is too slick for bluegrass. I won't, because "slick" implies a lack of soul, and this group has plenty of soul, particularly in Martha Adcock's singing. Her voice is clear and full of character, while her sober delivery lets the message of the lyrics flow naturally. This approach is well suited to David Allan Coe's "He's Taking It Hard," where heart-on-the-sleeve emoting would be distracting and could reduce the song to just so much kitsch.
Eddie Adcock is his usual beguiling self on both guitar and banjo, though I would have welcomed more opportunities for him to cut loose and, well, show off. His banjo instrumental, "Ed Scales In The Sunset," is one of the few tracks where this happens, and it is a kicker. His lead singing works best when he is dueting with Martha. His original songs are pleasing, especially "I'd Give Anything For The Blues." Fiddler and mandolinist Jeff Wisor plays tastefully, and is a fine ensemble player, lending a harmonic richness to vocal lines.
The program is invigorating in its avoidance of warhorses and bluegrass retreads, making this a good disc to give somebody who likes acoustic pop or contemporary country, but who might not be ready to dive into the latest by the Johnson Mountain Boys. For the rest of us, it is a satisfying 42 minutes of gentle bluegrass by a group with a distinctive approach to both sound and repertoire.
(CMH, P.O. Box 39439, Los Angeles, CA 90039) DR