Bradford Lee Folk and The Bluegrass Playboys ‘Somewhere Far Away’ - Five Of Diamonds

Folk is former member of band Open Road and now fronts this new band. As the band name suggests, Folk is a thoroughbred bluegrass exponent,  but as the playboy part of the name hints, the music comes from a time in the past where bluegrass and country music were less separate than they often appear now.

The instrumentation here is fiddle, banjo, upright bass, mandolin and guitar but it is Folk’s singing and writing that gives the album it’s distinctive flavour. He has written the majority of the 8 songs. He is a stylist in the mode of such greats as Jimmy Martin and Del McCoury and when he sings, at the end of the album, a song like the more folk-styled Soil and Clay you are immediately drawn into the heart of melancholy and sadness of this haunting song. 

There are various bluegrass songs from the uptempo opener Foolish Game of Love through to the more reflective Trains Don’t Lie. These and the other songs all show the strengths of the band which manage to highlight what an instinctive singer Folk is and how his songs have a depth that is more Americana in flavour than one can sometimes expect in bluegrass songwriting.

There is a darkness on occasion here that often relates back to earlier times which gives a different tone to some of the more standardised traditional repertoire that one can come across with some new bands.This is a very promising start to Folk’s journey as he balances the varied musical strands that exist within his music.