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Hit and Run Bluegrass
Review by Joe Ross, Roseburg, Oregon - email rossjoe@hotmail.com

Hit And RunHit & Run Bluegrass’ second CD, “Without Maps or Charts,” is a welcome continuation of the enchanting repertoire of this Colorado-based band formed in 2001. Solidly one of the most engaging and dynamic co-ed bluegrass bands on the scene, they’ve already won the band contests at Rockygrass, Telluride and the SPBGMA International Band Championship in Nashville. Their hard travelling, touring, and marketing of this project make them a cut above the rest of the many indie bluegrass artists trying to make a bigger name for themselves. I surprised that this band hasn’t landed a record label contract yet…or perhaps they have and are just depending on theor own moxie to succeed. Kenny & Amanda Smith helped with the production of their second release which was priamrily recorded in Charlotte, NC. Their signature sound is “authentic-yet-modern” bluegrass. Compared to ther debut, I must admit to slightly missing guest fiddler Aubrey Haynie in the mix of their second project.

Each of the band’s musicians bring some impressive skills to the cohesive unit. Guitarist Rebecca Hoggan is originally from Virgina and has expert command of flatpicking and singing. Covering an old favorite of hers from Bonnie Raitt in the 1970s, she sings theopener “Any Day Woman” written by Paul Seibel. Hoggan composed and sings “Why Does This Old Town Look Better Now,” and she sings lead on two other songs that come from Lisa Aschmann & Ellen Britton, and Danny Shafer. Todd Livingston is the 2001 Rockygrass Dobro Champion. John Frazier’s mandolin and fiddle playing, as well as singing, are very proficient, and he contributes the well-penned original songs “Home is Where I’ll Ever Be” and “Lockdown for your Love.” He also wrote additional lyrics for and sings lead on the traditional “Flying in the Wind” (frm Hobart Smith’s “Cuckoo’s Song” on an Alan Lomax recording). Aaron Youngberg is a banjo champion who hails from Fort Collins, Co. Such as on “Flying in the Wind,” his rolls are crisp, clean, syncopated exactly when necessary. Erin Coats, from Wyoming, is only in her early 20s, but she’s been playing bass since age nine. The stalwart vocalist sings lead on four numbers, including a barn-burning rendition of Ralph Stanley’s “Highway of Regret” to close the album and show their support and respect for the first generation of bluegrass (something they always do in every show). Only banjo and fiddle accompany the duo of Erin and Rebecca on the traditional “Single Girl.”

Among the most promising young bands in the nation today, Hit & Run Bluegrass has clearly emerged as a major force in the market as they introduce a younger demographic to their large body of original music. At the same time, they’ve managed an enchanting magnetic sound that also thrills long-standing bluegrass fans who simply know and enjoy good bluegrass. Th band members are focused on their goals, and they maintain a heavy touring schedule in support of their self-released ablums. Their greatest may be yet to come. I was happy to see lyrics included in the CD jacket. Without the need for maps or charts, Hit & Run’s compass is taking them to great success. (Joe Ross)


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