From the flatlands of the Midwest comes a band of urban hillbillies who joined the bluegrass revolution and set out to bring the mountain sounds to those seeking a respite from the daily grind. The Solar String Band was established in the living room of Mr. Baber's Neighbor with the intentions of nothing more than a good time. With the release of their self-titled album, Mr. Baber's Neighbors offers their own interpretation of the bluegrass experience.
"If it werenâ€™t for the hint of country, folk and roots-rock music in their Midwestern bluegrass sound (not that thatâ€™s a bad thing), you might be tempted to check the IDs of Des Moinesâ€™ Mr. Baberâ€™s Neighbors to verify that they hail from Iowa and not Kentucky because theyâ€™re so dedicated to the high-lonesome sound founded there years ago by Bill Monroe."
â€œThatâ€™s whatâ€™s great about bluegrass music. Itâ€™s not about the business or the egos, itâ€™s about the music.â€
"That selfless, ensemble approach is what drives â€œThe Solar String Bandâ€ to such impressive heights. Itâ€™s the groupâ€™s debut album on their own label, Baberhood Records Inc., and its 14 tracks include admirable renditions of traditional tunes like â€œLittle Cabin Home on the Hill,â€ â€œNine Pound Hammerâ€ and â€œWhitehouse Blues.â€ They co-exist alongside original foot-stompinâ€™ instrumentals (â€œSugar,â€ â€œPolk County Breakdownâ€), witty ditties (â€œJust Like A Country Songâ€) and heartfelt vocals with tight harmonies (â€œMidnight Run,â€ â€œDeep River Waltzâ€)."
"Mr. Baberâ€™s Neighbors has carved a niche for itself with its own sound, but itâ€™s also universal enough to attract fans of all walks of life and all ages."
By Michael Swanger of Cityview
The Following is from the 'Bluegrass Unlimited' review of
MR. BABER'S NEIGHBORSâ€”THE SOLAR STRING BAND [November 2006 issue]
Baberhood Records, No Number.
Mr. Baber's Neighbors is a four-piece bluegrass group from the Midwest consisting of Jeff Blanchard (guitar and vocals), Mike Tallman (mandolin and vocals), Paul Perkins (banjo and vocals), and Jerry Hoehle (bass and vocals). For their latest recording venture, they are assisted by banjoist Bob Black and Larry Beem (resonator guitar). The 14 selections include familiar numbers like "White House Blues" and "Nine Pound Hammer." However, most of the selections are original pieces like "Scene Stolen," "Just Like In A Country Song," and the instrumental "Ode To Jones" (inspired by a pet cat). This is a captivating collection of bluegrass music that should find a wide audience far beyond their Midwest roots.