Bluegrass themes are often about hardships, lost love, breakups and hard living but, the songs on this project by Dale Ann Bradley are about the hope of a better tomorrow. I had an opportunity to chat with Dale Ann about her Compass Records release Catch Tomorrow. I asked her what message she was trying to get across to her listeners with this project. She explained that we each should live for today and take advantage of what we have. There is a brighter day tomorrow and we can live through the hardships of today to get to the other side. Several of the cuts on "Catch Tomorrow" tell the stories of hardships, yet there is bravery and tenacity to make the best of life despite the hardships.
Dale Ann's unique talent of grassing up a tune made popular in another music genre is legendary. Can't Stand the Rain is a great example of that talent. She explained that she listens and enjoys lots of different music but bluegrass is her love. She sees a kindred spirit between the different styles and is able to take the melody and lyrics and bend them toward bluegrass. Can't Stand the Rain simply works!
The CD's title "Catch Tomorrow" is a phrase from Live Forever which was brought to Dale Ann's attention by both her dad and Vicki Simmons on separate occassions. She too loved the tune. Dale Ann explained that the song puts a spiritual point across with in a larger frame. The song is quite uplifting. The instrumentation in this song is quite well mixed with soft melodic backing behind Dale Ann's wonderful vocals. It is also a terrific showcase of Alison Brown's signature banjo sound.
During my chat with Dale Ann, she drew a parallel between Mercy Railroad and Live Forever a few times. She points to these two pieces as being the ones that have significant meaning about which she feels strongly. Mercy Railroad tells the story of slavery and the Underground Railroad. Once again, the major theme is one of hope, freedom and a rising above adversity.
When the Mist Comes Again is a unique departure from this almost pure Bluegrass project. It is a unique blending of Celtic sounds with Bluegrass. Lunesa backs Dale Ann on this sweet song bringing it Celtic authenticity. Dale Ann comments "It's a real Irish song with real Irish arrangements and instruments."
Other highlights are the duet with Larry Sparks on Pass Me Not. Their vocals mesh perfectly to deliver this hymn. Memories, Miles and Tears is a fun piece brought to Dale Ann by Ed Drake when the tune was about 85% complete and no lyrics had been written. Dale Ann liked the way he wrote so she and Vicki added the melody and wrote lyrics for it. According to Dale Ann, "It's a precious little story that talks about the south east by creating a picture of the open road."
The songs on this project are carefully chosen. Each one tells a special story. The uplifting themes become quite clear once you have listened to it through a few times and begin to assimilate the subtle messages. There is much depth to this project from the choice of songs, to the wonderful mix of instrumentation, to Dale Ann's clear melodic vocals. It's a project that will live forever in your heart as you catch your own tomorrow.
|Project Title:||Catch Tomorrow|
|Artist:||Dale Ann Bradley|
|Produced by:||Alison Brown|
|Record Label:||Compass Records|
|Rita Mae||(Connie Leigh)|
|Live Forever||(Billy Joe Shaver/ Eddy Shaver)|
|Holding on to Nothing||(Jerry Chestnut)|
|I Can't Stand the Rain||(Donald Bryant/Bernard Miller/Ann Peebles)|
|Run Rufus Run||(Dale Ann Bradley/Vicki Simmons)|
|Memories, Miles and Tears||(Dale Ann Bradley/Vicki Simmons/Ed Drake)|
|Pass Me Not||(traditional - arr. Dale Ann Bradley)|
|Julia Belle||(Chris Stuart)|
|Grandma's Gift||(Dale Ann Bradley/Vicki Simmons)|
|Mercy Railroad||(David A. Thompson)|
|When the Mist Comes Again||(David A. Thompson)|
|Me and Bobby McGee||(Kris Kristofferson/Fred Foster)|
Michael Cleveland, Alison Brown, Stuart Duncan, Steve Gulley, Andy Hall, Jim Lauderdale, Lunasa, Tim O'Brien, Todd Phillips, Marty Raybon, Larry Sparks, Jeff White, and Andrea Zonn