The hardest thing about being a family band in bluegrass is making it work as both a family and a band. The Anderson Family-Mark and Christy Anderson and their four kids, Paige, Aimee, Ethan (Bo) and Daisy-pull this off with a charm and apparent ease that make it easy to overlook just how hard each band member works and how special it is in our modern world of fake music to see musicians this young perform a Bill Monroe gospel quartet or a song like "Going Up Home to Live in Green Pastures." From the annual CBA Father's Day Bluegrass Festival in the Andersons' hometown of Grass Valley, California, to the International Bluegrass Music Association convention in Nashville, the Anderson Family has won over audiences nationwide with a traditional bluegrass sound and a fresh, modern approach.
I'm an irritable, middle-aged crank who's never been a parent, but I truly love hanging out with the Anderson kids, who range in age from Paige at 13 to Daisy at six. They're the coolest kids I've ever known, four distinct individuals with four distinct personalities, amazingly poised and talented for their ages but also lovable, goofball little goobers who race their bicycles, splash around in the swimming pool and romp with the family's dogs. I don't know the first thing about raising children, but I know that these are great kids and what that tells me is that something, a lot of somethings, really, is being done right on the home front.
This album, the second recording by the Anderson Family, is a musical snapshot of a moment in time. The band will sound different a month from now, and different from that a month later. The four youngest Andersons are musical sponges who love practicing and working out songs and as a result, this is the rare band that sounds better and more musically together every time you see it perform. Every single time-even if it's only been a week since the last time. Predictions about what might happen with any band are risky and I'm not going to make any. I'm happy to enjoy the moment, enjoy this recording, and know that the sky's the limit for my young friends.
--Jon Hartley Fox
Anderson Family Bluegrass
Mark Anderson (Dad) - banjo
Christy Anderson (Mom) - bass
Paige Anderson (13 yrs.) - guitar, lead vocals, clawhammer banjo
Aimee Anderson (11 yrs.) - fiddle, harmony/lead vocals
Ethan Anderson (9 yrs.) - mandolin, harmony/lead vocals
Daisy Anderson (6 yrs.) - harmony/lead vocals
This new CD is a success on so many levels I don't know where to begin. Maybe it's the music teacher in me or maybe it's my love of traditional music. I'm not sure. I know as a parent you long to hear the words "you raised 'em right". It might be a bit early to say that here (the Anderson children range in age from 6 - 13) but WOW!!! What a fine job you've done so far.
Paige does a stellar job of neo-Carter style picking on "Rockwood Deer Chase"(an instrumental). I loved Aimee's double stop fiddlin' on tunes like "Sounds Of Loneliness". Ethan sounds like a budding Bill Monroe on "Get Down On Your Knees And Pray". Daisy and the rest of the kids sing like a choir of angels. Mom plays rock solid bass and Dad adds some excellent bluegrass banjo throughout. Kudos to all: Parents, Teachers, Kids!
Bill's Picks: "Rockwood Deer Chase", "Sounds Of Loneliness", Don't Make Me Go To Bed I'll Be Good", "Get Down On Your Knees And Pray", "Rock Of Ages" (Great mountain minor banjo!)
Music Reviewer for California's Southwest Bluegrass Association