Joe Ross | Bluegrass Alphabet

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Bluegrass Alphabet

by Joe Ross

"A CD that expresses many times over the love, knowledge and passion Joe Ross holds for bluegrass music. He takes us on a tour of emotions and places, exhibiting a multitude of influences that go into his songwriting." - Stephanie P. Ledgin
Genre: Country: Bluegrass
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1. Bluegrass Alphabet
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5:25 $0.99
2. The Place Where I Was Born
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4:11 $0.99
3. The Loneliest Season
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3:55 $0.99
4. One Day Soon (the Sun Will Shine)
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5. Down and Out, Sad and Lonely
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6. My Desert Home
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7. She Has a Gypsy Heart
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8. Canyon of Sorrows
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9. God Has All the Answers
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10. You Can Make a Difference
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11. Tomorrow’s Yesterday
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12. Bonus Surprise
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Joe Ross epitomizes the ideal contained in the 19th century French philosopher/historian, Jean Jacques Rousseau's observation that “…deep thinking is obtainable only by a person of deep feeling.”

The lyrics penned by the Oregon "songster," Joe Ross, attest to his astute ability to evoke in his listeners an emotional response to the joys, mysteries, and sorrows of life. Sometimes the listener’s response is an involuntary smile as you marvel at the clever lyrics contained in a song such as the "Bluegrass Alphabet," where Joe uses the 26 letters of the alphabet to provide listeners with historical insight into the various people and events that combine to shape the music we love. "The Place Where I was Born" is more pensive as the listener finds him or herself experiencing a warm, emotional response to a nostalgic trip back home. (Thomas Wolfe’s great novel, You Can’t Go Home Again, might never have been written had he experienced the songwriting of Joe Ross.) "The Loneliest Season," another Ross original, attests to the ubiquitous nature of loneliness as it knows no time nor season.

Joe Ross writes with a purpose as he portrays, in song, the complexity of human relationships, the delicate balance between individuals and their environment, and the peace and comfort to be found in the presence of a higher being. Without exception, his lyrics inspire an introspection that is both uplifting and edifying.

While this album focuses more on the “song” and the “singer,” you will not be disappointed with the musical ensemble. Each song contains a unique interlacing of vocals with stirring instrumentation. "My Desert Home" engulfs you in a web of sweet mandolin sounds that portrays a desert beauty in the notes themselves, while the banjo/fiddle kickoff to "She Has A Gypsy Heart" tells you up front that sometimes true love simply can't be harnessed. "The Loneliest Season" contains an appealing "Sons of the Pioneers" vocal quality, and Ross masterfully utilizes the fiddle and mandolin to convey an aural sense of loneliness that goes beyond words. Another innovative arrangement is found in the inspiring gospel song, “One Day Soon,” where the lead singer exchanges vocal parts with the choral backup. If you enjoy creative song arrangement, this song is guaranteed to capture your imagination.

Multi-talented Joe Ross provides lead vocals on the eleven songs he penned for this recording, and he also turns in a stellar performance on the guitar, mandolin, and bass on several of the songs. In addition to Joe's very commendable talents, this album is enhanced further by such great guest artists as Bryan Bowers, Tim Crouch, James King, Randy Kohrs, Ron Stewart, Scott Vestal, Radim Zenkl, and others.

A man of both deep feeling and deep thinking, Joe Ross has few peers as a singer and a songster.

Wayne Bledsoe
Editor, Bluegrass Now Magazine


Reviews


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reviewed by Tim Shelton of NewFound Road

solid bluegrass album!
Bluegrass Alphabet features some of the great bluegrass musicians touring today, musicians like Ron Stewart, Scott Vestal, Ben Green, James King, Tim Crouch, Randy Kohrs, Kevin Prater and Adam Haynes show up throughout the album. The cd features 12 songs, eleven of which Joe has written himself. The album mostly leans toward traditional bluegrass with the exception of the last track which is a very eclectic instrumental with the unique combinations of Celtic, Oriental and Western music instrumentation featured in the song entitled My Bonnie.

My favorite tracks are The Loneliest Season and My Desert Home. The Loneliest Season is reminiscent of first generation bluegrass ballads, lonesome and pitiful, which I for one, love.
My Desert Home is a unique bluegrass song that paints a picture of living in the desert. Which Joe did from 1984 to 1988. The liner notes state that the late, great songwriter, Randall Hylton when upon hearing this song, stated, “I’ve never seen the desert or been to Nevada but My Desert Home paints such a vivid picture that I can feel the heat”. Well, I’ve been to the desert and it is written with incredible descriptions that only living there for a period of time, could allow you to describe the way Joe Describes it here in My Desert Home.

The album features gospel songs as well, which are well written and performed!

Congratulations to Joe Ross on making such a solid bluegrass album!

Les McIntyre (Bluegrass Unlimited, June 2008)

Another successful addition to Joe Ross' remarkable song folio
"Bluegrass Alphabet" is the latest release from Joe Ross and similar in content to his two previous releases (Festival Time Again; Spirit of St. Louis). With the exception of the instrumental "My Bonnie," the remaining 11 selections are well-crafted originals displaying a variety of emotions ... "Bluegrass Alphabet" is vintage Joe Ross and another successful addition to his remarkable song folio.

Johnny Pearce

...as interesting and compelling as his other writings
Playing time: 45:03 - Joe Ross is a writer of interesting, informative and imaginative musical reviews so it's not really a surprise to find his talents also extend to writing bluegrass music. The music is as interesting and compelling as his other writings. Bluegrass Alphabet is almost all-original material and to those familiar with Joe’s other two most recent recordings will already know what to expect-more well written bluegrass performed by Joe and accompanied by a solid lineup of first class musicians.
Bluegrass Alphabet includes eleven of his original vocals and one instrumental remake of the old folk song “My Bonnie.” Many renowned musicians surround him on this project and together the talent is obvious to even the most casual listener. One interesting song called “The Loneliest Season,” a traditional sounding song influenced no doubt by the winter time both in reference to the season and the season of the heart includes a chilling lead vocal shared by Jamie Kruse. The gospel song Joe calls “One Day Soon,” another traditional sound was actually written years ago brings the timeless message of encouragement to the believer. “My Desert Home,” a great sounding song with a more modern flavor is headed up by the melodic mandolin and takes the listener on a trip to the ageless desert in Nevada with a compelling western flavor. “You Can Make A Difference,” brings the message embodied in the title, for all to step up and get involved. Another highlight, a song called “Tomorrow’s Yesterday” reminds us all to treasure the wonderful memories of our youth, as today becomes tomorrows yesterday and memories fade with today’s attractions. Joe’s take on the old song “My Bonnie” is interesting in itself as played on what else but a koto, keyboard and whistle. The title cut “Bluegrass Alphabet” brings bluegrass meaning to the alphabet from A to Z.
Bluegrass Alphabet is a fun album filled with fun music and will do well for Joe and his friends. I’m already looking forward to his next album. (JP)

Terry Roland

A delight that lifts the spirit
Veteran Bluegrass Independent artist Joe Ross has put together a delight of a CD inBluegrass Alphabet. The independent instrumentalist extraordinaire has created a CD that is centered on the song, allowing the variety of acoustic instrumentation to support some beautiful, serene and thought provoking lyrics. Ross\' vocals bare an uncanny resemblance to Roy Rogers, which becomes an advantage when his songs like, My Desert Home, seem to be taken from a lost vault of recordings by The Sons of the Pioneers. In keeping with Bluegrass tradition, even while the lyrics may be sad at times, the music consistently lifts the spirit. The centerpiece of this fine CD is the final song, My Bonnie, drawing on Japanese instrumentation bringing together a traditional Scottish standard. The results leave the listener breathless. His spiritual outlook is clear in all of the songs which reflect a solid Christian perspective. The original song, God Has All the Answers, provides a crystal clear look at Ross\' world view. Whether you are in the mood for some down home pure Bluegrass fun, visual lyrics of Americana, or an innovative path into world music, this CD will satisfy even the thirstiest fan of traditional roots music. - Terry Rolands

John Lupton

Interesting and unexpected throughout!
Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and music journalist Joe Ross has covered a lot of musical ground in his career, and here delves into bluegrass literally, as the title track conveys, from A to Z. Thomas Wolfe wrote "You can never go home", but Ross evocatively goes back to "The Place Where I Was Born." He echoes a bit of Hank Williams with "Down and Out, Sad and Lonely" and, in the only non-original song on the disc, revisits "My Bonnie" with a Japanese twist. Interesting and unexpected throughout. (John Lupton)

Pat Flynn

Great playing, thoughtful arrangements, strong songs
Great playing, thoughtful arrangements, and strong songs - along with the title song, my favorites are "One Day Soon," "You Can Make A Difference," and "Tomorrow's Yesterday."

B. Hough

catchy, melodic, engaging songs with messages of home, love and life’s journey
Joe Ross is one of bluegrass music’s top reviewers and with this new CD, he proves that he can write catchy, melodic songs that will make the listener want to dance and sing along. Joe’s skill with words and melodies makes this a collection of engaging songs with messages of home, love and life’s journey. “Bluegrass Alphabet” is a clever catalog of some of bluegrass music’s familiar words: Appalachia, Bill Monroe, Cabin and Dobro, Emotions, Festival and so on…..” Joe can put nostalgia in the forefront with a winsome look at “The Place Where I Was Born” and he celebrates “My Desert Home” with a series of images that paints the flamey sky, sagebrush and faithful pony with a warm glow.

“The Loneliest Season” has warm vocal harmonies blending with Joe’s baritone and a loping rhythm that evokes the easy riding cowboy style. “One Day Soon (The Sun Will Shine”) has Joe trading parts with a chorus that celebrates the joy of embracing life’s possibilites. A rollicking banjo kickoff sends up another Joe Ross original, “Down and Out, Sad and Lonely,” with a cascade of mandolin fills and dobro embellishements providing a bluegrass musical setting for a tale of “some think it’s bad luck, just no luck at all.” Joe is not afraid to put his convictions into a message. “You Can Make A Difference” is a call to Americans to be part of the solution and not the problem and is graced with the talents of James King, Al Brinkerhoff and Randy Kohrs. “Tomorrow’s Yesterday” is a wonderfully gentle love song that should be sung on everyone’s wedding anniversary. “My Bonnie” is an old traditional folk song transposed to a Far Eastern setting complete with flutes and koto. Joe has traveled from West to East and back again and we can join him on the journey.

Graham Hassall

very classy Bluegrass Album with many super tracks
A very classy Bluegrass Album from this very talented singer/songwriter, who wrote eleven of the twelve tracks. All tracks were put over really well and with good sensitive singing. A host of great musicians joined Joe and provided high quality complimentary supporting music, enhancing the listeners' enjoyment of the album. These super tracks come over best - Bluegrass ALphabet, The Place Where I was Born, The Loneliest Season. I also enjoyed One Day Soon (The Sun Will Shine), She Has A Gypsy Heart, Canyon of Sorrows, and God Has All the Answers. These are all very good offerings. This album should be a very popular release and is well produced and full of high quality tracks. Graham Hassall, country music broadcaster, Radio Nightingale, Blyth, Nr. Worksop, Notts. S81 8HF, U.K.

Richard Stewart

Bluegrass Alphabet is a must for your collection
A lot has been written about Joe Ross and his contributions to music over the years making it difficult not to rehash accolades regarding this talented singer, song writer and multi instrumentalist. In a nut shell, Joe is a musical jack of all trades. Be it an electric or acoustic genre. His latest release, "Bluegrass Alphabet" takes the listener on an enjoyable Bluegrass journey.

Joe has written eleven of the twelve tracks and covers many emotions which should be the case with a well thought out selection of songs.

Track 1) Bluegrass Alphabet takes us from A to Z with each letter reflecting different aspects of Bluegrass music.

Track 3) The Loneliest Season has to be my favorite of all. It brings to mind the high lonesome sound of Mr. Monroe himself. Having Jamie Kruse take the reins on the last verse and chorus is added icing on a very tasty piece of cake. What a beautiful voice she has. Thanks for sharing her with us Joe.

As always, Joe has assembled a cast of stellar musicians and vocalist, too many to mention here but trust me folks, you won't be disappointed.

If you've not heard Joe before, you are missing some fine acoustic music. If you are one of us who has followed Joe for a while then "Bluegrass Alphabet" is a must for your collection.

I mentioned that Joe penned eleven of the twelve tracks. Track twelve is his rendition of "My Bonnie lies over the ocean" and a must hear. When one combines keyboard, whistle and koto on a Bluegrass album, you know it has to be good.
Richard Stewart (richard854@webtv.net)

Charlie Hall

Original material recorded by great bluegrass artists .... a must-have CD for yo
Singer, songwriter, and bluegrass musician Joe Ross, who makes his home in Oregon, was first introduced to bluegrass music back in the late sixties while stationed in Japan. Joe is well recognized for hundred's of book and record reviews which have appeared in most of the bluegrass music magazines. His latest CD Bluegrass Alphabet showcases his award-winning songwriting ability with 11 of the 12 cuts from his pen. For this project he has amassed some of the best musicians and singers that are recording today - Randy Kohrs, James King, Scott Vestal, Ben Green, and Mr. Who-Can-Play-Anything-With-Strings-On-It Ron Stewart. If you like original material recorded by great bluegrass artists then this is a must-have CD for your collection. Other tracks include The Place Where I Was Born, The Loneliest Season, One Day Soon, My Desert Home, She Has A Gypsy Heart, Canyon of Sorrows. (reviewed by Charlie Hall for Bluegrass Music Profiles Nov/Dec 2008)
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