Benson’s “Red Mountain Wine” Cover is Latest in Bluegrass Spatial Audio

October 21, 2022

For their fourth single, Benson — that’s the husband-wife duo of acclaimed mandolinist Wayne Benson and award-winning banjo player Kristin Scott Benson and a stellar supporting cast — double down on the bluegrass of their last release with a blistering take on a sleeper from the 1970s, “Red Mountain Wine.”

The single — out now — can be found in Dolby Atmos spatial audio on Apple Music, Amazon Music and TIDAL and has been added to Mountain Home’s Immersed In Bluegrass playlist exclusively on Apple Music.

Though Benson’s rendition makes the song sound like a dyed-in-the-wool ‘grasser, and though it’s been found mostly in the repertoire of new old-time string bands, “Red Mountain Wine” actually came from the pen of Cajun country-rocker Floyd “Gib” Gilbeau, who wrote and recorded it in the early 1970s, shortly before joining the Flying Burrito Brothers. “This is an old song that a lot of people have done,” notes Wayne Benson, before adding, “But we know it from the Lost & Found,” a staple on the bluegrass festival circuit for over 40 years. “I believe one of Kristin’s banjo students was playing it as part of her band, similar to the Lost & Found cut. Then, Kristin had the idea of speeding it up and turning it into a barnburner.”

For help in creating their own version, the Bensons turned to a couple of long-time friends — guitarist Cody Kilby (Travelin’ McCourys) and singer Mickey Harris (Rhonda Vincent & The Rage), with whom Kristin once worked in a band led by Mountain Home labelmate Chris Jones’ wife Sally — a more recent one in the person of fiddler Jim VanCleve, and a newer one still in bassist Paul Watson, who regularly appears in the band of another labelmate, Carley Arrowood. Starting with Kristin’s driving banjo, the cut races through the song’s 3 verses, alternating solos from the two principals and a final chorus before wrapping up, in true bluegrass fashion, just under the two minute mark.

“This one is straight-ahead bluegrass with plenty of mandolin and banjo playing,” Kristin Scott Benson summarizes. “Uptempo and lots of fun to play!”