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Fresh Bluegrass From Nashville Vets Tammy Rogers and Thomm Jutz: "Surely Will Be Singing"

There is a certain kind of brand new music that sounds like it’s always been there. We caught some of it at the Bluebird Café Sunday night, at a CD release party for Tammy Rogers and Thomm Jutz’ beautiful new collection, “Surely Will Be Singing.”

The title track sounds like something that will be heard at bluegrass festivals and picking parties decades down the road. It also sounds like something that has been heard at bluegrass festivals and picking parties back down through the decades.

And it makes you feel good.

Rogers and Jutz are veterans on the Nashville music scene; she the co-founder and fiddler player for the Grammy Award-winning bluegrass band The SteelDrivers; he a prolific bluegrass songwriter who has toured in bands behind Mary Gauthier, Nanci Griffith and David Olney.

They met in 2016 when they found themselves seated at the same table at a Nashville awards event. Jutz told the Bluebird crowd that they were both coming off solid years – including a Grammy win for Rogers – and bonded over their frustration at not being mentioned at the event. They agreed get together to write, and still do almost every week.

The album, recorded and produced in Nashville and released on Mountain Fever Records, blends solid Bluegrass tunes like the aforementioned “Surely Will Be Singing,” “Long Gone” (the first single off the album) and “Mountain Angel,” with more reflective personal songs like “On Your Own” – which Rogers said she originally wrote with her teenage daughter in mind, only to realize she was also writing about herself – and “About Last Night.”

The latter, a regretful love song in which the singer wonders if a relationship’s romantic turn was a mistake, “is definitely not an autobiographical song,” Jutz said. “Both Tammy’s husband and my wife are here tonight. So we’d be in quite a bit of trouble if it was.”

Like any respectable Nashville offering, “Surely Will Be Singing” features solid musical chops. Jutz on guitar and Rogers on fiddle and mandolin are both accomplished players. They are backed by sought-after Nashville pros Mark Fain on the upright bass and Justin Moses on banjo and dobro. Moses has been named dobro player of the year three times by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Lynn Williams also played drums and percussion on two of the album tracks.

Bluegrass fans will enjoy this album of fresh new offerings in the genre. I expect the broader Americana community will also embrace the well-crafted songs and clean, hand-made feel of the 12-cut collection.

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