“Bluegrass Now:” “Blackberry Jam” by Andy May

Andy May began his musical career back in the late ’60s, playing music in the New York area with live performances as well as appearances on live radio. His “roots” music contains elements from many musical styles including folk, bluegrass, and country, both old and new. Blackberry Jam is his latest offering and features all original material written by Andy and wife, Lauren.

Joining Andy on this project are Jim Heffernan (Dobro), Kenny Malone (percussion), Dennis Crouch (bass), Rick Lee (piano, keyboards), Tim Crouch, (fiddle), David Talbot (banjo), Larry Marrs (harmony vocals), and Craig Fletcher. (harmony vocals)

Andy uses the Dobro as the out-front lead on most of the cuts, and while the banjo is listed, it is used very little. Although bluegrass influences are heard throughout the CD, most of this music is not what most would call bluegrass. It’s hard to put this music into a neat category– however, acoustic country or alternative country comes to mind. This is not to say it’s not good music, because I thoroughly enjoyed this fine CD.

The music is all original, well written, and fresh. Andy’s vocals are clear and clean and he is an excellent guitar player as well. One cut, “Little Bird,” I especially enjoyed features Andy playing some fine finger-style guitar with a banjo-like roll.  “They Put the Blue in Bluegrass”, is another I enjoyed. It is the only cut that utilizes a banjo and has a bluegrass sound.

Blackberry Jam is compelling, fresh music most will enjoy; although not much is bluegrass. Fans of acoustic music and especially Dobro fans will enjoy this album.

JP, Bluegrass Now
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