BLUEGRASS AT THE CROSSROADS
RECORD LABEL:Mountain Home Music Company
LOCATION:Asheville, North Carolina
Bluegrass at the Crossroads, the collaborative sessions series that earned a quintet of Crossroads Label Group artists a 2021 IBMA Instrumental Recording of the Year award for “Ground Speed,” returns on June 3, 2022 with “Timber Train,” a powerful tale of a Gilded Age logging boom’s impact on western North Carolina.
Written by Thomm Jutz, Charley Stefl and series producer Jon Weisberger—a team that includes two IBMA Songwriters of the Year—“Timber Train” features a broad-ranging group of musicians that includes legendary, award-winning banjo player Sammy Shelor, Mountain Home recording artist Carley Arrowood (fiddle, harmony vocals), acclaimed mandolinist Wayne Benson (Benson, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out), the GRAMMY-winning Infamous Stringdusters’ Travis Book (bass, harmony vocals), guitarist Joe Cicero (Fireside Collective) and a soulful, heartfelt lead vocal from Zoe & Cloyd’s John Cloyd Miller.
The song begins with a bluesy, modal figure from fiddle, banjo and mandolin over an insistently swaying rhythm section before diving into its revelatory, scene-setting chorus:
Hear the ringing of the axe, the rattle of the logging chain
The whistle blowing down the tracks, hauling off the forest on the train
There goes the timber train
From there, three tightly-rhymed verses offer vivid descriptions of hard, dangerous work and environmental despoliation that bring to mind the rich vein of bluegrass songs that runs through songs like “Paradise” and “Aragon Mill,” to the rich legacy of artists like Bluegrass Hall of Famers Hazel & Alice.
“’Timber Train’ is a commentary on unchecked resource extraction policies that emerged in the Colonial Era and continue in some industries even to this day,” says Miller. “The Southern Appalachian logging boom began in earnest in the 1880s and continued through the 1920s, with extensive environmental and social impacts on the region. Outside timber barons would often ‘cut and run’ with little regard for local communities or conservation efforts. Let us hope that we can continue to value our shared heritage over short-term financial gain for the few.”
KEY SELLING POINTS
- Featuring a mixture of legendary musicians and artists, and up-and-coming rising stars, Bluegrass at the Crossroads combines the best of the Mountain Home Music Company and Organic Records label rosters, staff, songwriters, and producers
- Releases showcase a mixture of genre-bending flavors where the worlds of bluegrass, Americana, roots, acoustic, and country music collide