Alternate Roots,
Branching Out
(self-produced, 2002)

Kick back your heels, turn up the volume and enjoy mountain music whether you live in the city, in the country or on a boat. Branching Out is 14 tracks of pure mountain-fresh joy.

"When Somebody Wants to Leave" is from the pen of Dolly Parton but Alternate Roots makes it their own (although Katy Taylor does sound very like Parton at times on this and other tracks).

The banjo picking on "California Road" leads us into the warm voice of Scott Freeman in a beautiful tale of leaving. Here is the lure of California and its effects on the girl from the country.

The group certainly allows every member the opportunity to shine. Willard Gayheart takes vocals on "Robin D," another story set to music that keeps the listener interested to the final bar. It is the tale of a riverboat being built and launched, but it's also about lost love. Lost love again permeates "Sunrise," when Katy takes the lead amid the banjo plucking that gives an added poignancy to the words.

"Sweet Thing" takes us back to the golden sound of country as recalled in the works of Patsy Cline and Hank Williams. It is a lovely, slow song with some great picking between choruses. "Cattle in the Cane" will get your heart pumping like a swig of moonshine -- but without the after effects. This is a showcase the instrumental prowess of the group.

Branching Out is an album of potential hits if they can reach an audience of discerning listeners. Almost any of the tracks could make it either as sung or played by Alternate Roots or a big name of the music industry. It is my greatest frustration to know how much great music is being produced but how little is getting the audience it deserves and needs to survive.

One small note to the group: please include the lyrics in future CDs. Your voices are great and clear but so often reading the words as well can enhance the experience.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 8 February 2003

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