The record is titled From Sulphur Springs to Rising Fawn: The Songs of Norman Blake, and contains 15 duets between Minner and his many friends in the music world, Guests include Ron Block, Ronnie Bowman, Dale Ann Bradly, Shawn Camp, Mike Compton, Vince Gill, Trey Hensley, Kenny Smith, and Tim Stafford. The arrangements are simple, allowing Blake’s classic songs to shine, with a respectful and even reverential approach from the performers.
If the name Bob Minner isn’t familiar to you, it’s because he has worked as a sideman most of his career. He has played guitar with country star Tim McGraw for years, but he is a bluegrass boy through and through. He picks the banjo as well, and plays fiddle, mandolin, reso-guitar, and bass. Also a talented songwriter, his compositions hav been recorded by Volume Five, Dailey & Vincent, Sideline, Blue Highway, Ronnie Bowman and more.
Today’s single is a less known number, Ridge Road Gravel, but recognized by true Blake-ophiles from its inclusion on the Blake & Rice record in 1987. Minner duets with Chris Eldridge of Punch Brothers on this cut.
Bob says it was one with deep meaning for him.
“It meant so much to me to record this version of this classic written by Norman Blake from the first Blake & Rice album. Partly because the great Chris Eldridge (who’s relationship with the late Tony Rice is well known) lent his talents to the cut. And also because when I told Norman that Chris and I were recording it, he said, ‘Be sure to dedicate it to Tony from me because he was a friend of mine too.’ That’s what I did, and it doesn’t get any more special than that.”
Have a listen…
Ridge Road Gravel and the full From Sulphur Springs to Rising Fawn album are available now from popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers can get the tracks at AirPlay Direct.