The Silverado Bluegrass Band,
All Doors Will Open
(Tricropolis, 2002)

When the Movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? came out in 2000, there was "sudden" interest in all things bluegrass. Well, the Silverado Bluegrass Band might be a little late with their first CD, All Doors Will Open, to jump on the bandwagon, but I think most true fans of the genre will agree that is never too late for a good bluegrass CD.

In general bluegrass fashion, most of the tracks are relatively short, clocking in between 2 and 3 minutes. Consequently, even with 12 tunes, the CD is only 35 minutes in length. Within that 35 minutes, the band covers nine oldies and three originals. More importantly, since the band has been around since '96, the years have gelled their performance into a band that plays as one. You get quality over quantity here!

The band consists of five musicians from southern California. Mike Nadolson plays acoustic guitar and provides lead and harmony vocals. David Dias plays the dobro and adds lead and harmony vocals. Dan Sankey might not sing, but he knows his way around the mandolin. Dave Richardson will grab your attention with his expertise on the banjo. And like most of the group, he sings lead and harmony as well. Rounding out the band is Dolly Mae Bradshaw. Her instrument is acoustic bass. I should also mention she has quite a pretty little voice.

I am having a hard time picking out favorite tracks to talk about. I also have a hard time distinguishing between the originals and the oldies since all the songs have a weathered sound, like they have been around for decades. I can say that while all singing members have decent singing voices, the highlights on the CD are when they harmonize.

"How Mountain Girls Can Love" is a fast-paced piece that I know I've heard before -- but I don't know where. Nadolson takes lead on this toe-tappin' track. The music jumps from instrument to instrument letting all be heard while not letting the instrumental portion of the song be dominated by one particular sound.

"Alvera," written by Dias, takes a little departure from bluegrass and jumps the fence to old time country. This instrumental was written to the memory of his wife's mother according to the CD liner notes. This tune is a little melancholy and you know Alvera is missed. The slow-paced melody just might bring a tear to your eye.

One of the selections that probably best showcases the group's harmonizing talents is "Who'll Sing for Me." Dias does have lead, but much of the song is shared with his band mates. I'm not much into gospel, but there is something special about bluegrass gospel. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard a bluegrass gospel song I didn't like! This closing track is no exception.

The Silverado Bluegrass Band plays a more professional, serious type of bluegrass than other bluegrass bands I've heard, such as the Hackensaw Boys. Both types of bluegrass are good depending upon what you are in the mood for. If you enjoy a more polished sound, then All Doors Will Open by the Silverado Bluegrass Band would make a nice addition to your collection.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 13 September 2003