"Georgia Maple" News & Reviews
“This song really touches on family and values. It’s one I wrote with Scott Mehaffey and when we started it, the song took me back to my childhood on my Grandpa's farm. Where that old maple tree saw everything, from praying down at the creek, to all the hard work in the garden. I think it relates to a way of life that's needed this day and time more than ever. We hope this song takes you back there too!” - Edgar Loudermilk
GEORGIA MAPLE – Edgar Loudermilk, John Curtis Goad, Bluegrass Today | August 15, 2016
To many bluegrass fans, Edgar Loudermilk is likely best known for his solid bass skills, particularly thanks to his long tenure with bluegrass favorites IIIrd Tyme Out. However, over the past few years, Loudermilk has begun to come into his own as a vocalist and as a solo artist, releasing two popular albums in 2013 – the solo effort My Big Chance Tomorrow, and a duo project with Dave Adkins under the name Adkins & Loudermilk. This year, he’s officially struck out on his own with the Edgar Loudermilk Band, featuring Jeff Autry. In July, Pinecastle Records released Loudermilk’s newest solo album (featuring the members of his band), Georgia Maple.
Of the twelve songs here, Loudermilk wrote or co-wrote eight. Several of the best reflect on home, memories, and growing up. The opening track, My Kentucky Home, is one of the album’s strongest, with a catchy melody and the familiar bluegrass tale of a man who realizes leaving home wasn’t the best decision he ever made. It has a good modern traditional sound, with Zack Autry’s mandolin particularly standing out. My Home in Caroline, written by Loudermilk and Autry along with the other two regular band members (guitarist Jeff Autry and dobro player Glen Crain), pulls together several popular bluegrass themes, as well. The singer has made a few mistakes – leaving the girl behind, rambling and gambling and so on – but now he’s trying to make things right.
The title track is another ‘home” song from Loudermilk’s pen, this time co-written with Scott Mehaffey. It’s a well-written, mid-tempo number that uses a long-standing maple tree as a touchpoint for the many life events that have taken place on the singer’s family farm. From commonplace things like plowing to more momentous occasions like the song’s narrator building a house to begin a family of his own, the maple tree has seen it all – “just like you, I have ground now of my own,” Loudermilk sings. Also well-written is Dreaming Enough to Get Me By. Written by Tony Ramey, the song will likely speak to many listeners. The singer tells of days spent “chasing bill after bill, running two steps behind” but shares that he allows himself just a little room to dream so that he doesn’t lose hope in a better future.
On the more upbeat, traditional bluegrass side of things is Trains Can’t Turn Around, co-written by Loudermilk and Trey Ward. The song’s pace is set by a banjo kick-off from guest Chris Wade, and Crain’s dobro adds an extra bluesy kick to the number. Even bluesier is the (aptly-titled) Blues Ain’t Coming Through My Door, a contribution from Loudermilk and former IIIrd Tyme Out bandmate Wayne Benson. Crain and Jeff Autry work well here together to create a nice groove, supporting Loudermilk as he declares that he’s through letting heartbreak get him down.
A pair of covers also stand out.Harvest of My Heart has a bit of a different feel from the rest of the album. Many of the versions of this song I’ve heard have featured a higher lead, but Loudermilk’s arrangement works very well. He fills the lyrics with emotion as he shares the story of a farmer who tries hard to put his family and beloved wife first in all he does. On the album, it’s followed by Bob McDill’s It Must Be Love, which Don Williams took to number one on the country charts in 1979. Following in Williams’s footsteps, Loudermilk takes a simple approach to the song, with plainspoken phrasing and stripped down, gentle instrumentation guided by Jeff Autry’s guitar. Fans of the song should enjoy this version, which actually sticks fairly close to the original.
Loudermilk has a distinctive voice in bluegrass music, and he uses it to nice effect on many songs here, especially when he’s called upon to fill his vocals with passion, such as on Harvest of My Heart. The musicians in his band are all well-respected in bluegrass circles, and the country-tinged, modern traditional grass they create here is enjoyable. Though Wade is not a regular member of the band, his banjo playing fits well with the group’s style and helps add a stronger bluegrass feel to several of the songs. Fans of Loudermilk’s previous solo work should enjoy Georgia Maple.
For more information on Edgar Loudermilk, visit his website at www.edgarloudermilk.com. His new album is available from several online music retailers.
Loudermilk's "Georgia Maple" Goes to #4 on Billboard Chart
The album (to #1) and it’s first single, “My Kentucky Home,” (to #2) did very well on the AirPlay Direct charts, and continues to receive high praise and escalated play from radio programmers worldwide.
Joe Stutzman, DJ of Heartland Bluegrass on The Bluegrass
Jamboree said “Georgia Maple is Edgar Loudermilk’s
BEST album release to date!”
The first single from the album,“My Kentucky Home,” released this past February, showcasing Loudermilk’s songwriting prowess yet again. Having written or co-written eight of the twelve songs on GEORGIA MAPLE Loudermilk’s bluegrass roots come across loud and clear with this recording.
Jeff Lipchik, DJ of Bluegrass from the Smokies on
Music Mix Central says “Edgar Loudermilk sings
one of my favorite 2016 songs, “My Kentucky Home”.
The new release is comprised of phenomenal instrumentals and vocals from Edgar Loudermilk, bass player, together with his band mates, featured guitarist, Jeff Autry, Dobro player, Glen Crain, and mandolin player, Zack Autry; as well as impressive banjo player, Chris Wade, from Gatlinburg, TN.
Featured guitarist, Jeff Autry, also has a project recently re-released on Pinecastle Records, FOOTHILLS. The band is performing and supporting both albums on the road nationwide and in Canada and looks forward to taking the stage near your hometown very soon! Keep an eye on their very busy schedule at www.EdgarLoudermilk.com.
"GEORGIA MAPLE," Reviewed By Bluegrass Unlimited
Among contemporary lead bluegrass singers, Edgar Loudermilk has one of the most distinctive, recognizable, and enjoyable voices in the business. His crisp baritone lead is powerful, cutting, and expressively tuneful. As with Russell Johnson and Junior Sisk, similarly strident voices, you can always find him in the mix and always want to.
For his Pinecastle debut, he includes eight originals along with four covers that include a jazz standard, “I’ll See You In My Dreams,” “Harvest Of My Heart”, and a country hit from back in the ’70s, “It Must Be Love.” Two of the originals, “My Old Kentucky Home” and the slower “Homesick Blues,” Loudermilk wrote. Both explore the theme of leaving home and longing to return. That same theme emerges on “My Home In Caroline,” written with his bandmates, and again on “Georgia Maple,” written with Scott Mehaffey. The latter is the best of the four, with a mid-tempo bounce that has a gospel hint. Also of note is the beautiful country tune he wrote with Lucias White, “Until Your Love Brings Me Back.” Melodies don’t get much better.
While all the covers are very good, the one that most stands out is Jerry Ramey’s positive message song “Dreaming Enough To Get Me By.” It’s melodic to beat the band, catchy and has a very good arrangement.
Joining the bass-playing Loudermilk on a recording worthy of hearing in every respect are guitarist Jeff Autry, mandolinist Zack Autry, resonator guitarist Glenn Crain, and banjoist Chris Wade. This is the same group that backed Adkins & Loudermilk on their 2015 album. That continuity and familiarity makes for a cohesive sound and presentation and gives the album an added boost. (Pinecastle Records, 5000 Old Buncombe Rd., Suite 27-242, Greenville, SC 29617, www.pinecastlemusic.com.)BW