With a brand new IBMA Instrumental Recording of the Year credit to their names, the first group of musicians to participate in the Mountain Home Music Company and Organic Records Bluegrass at the Crossroads collaborative series is back with the last of its efforts — this time, a contemplative, country-flavored excursion. Like its predecessors — the award-winning “Ground Speed” included — “Between Houston and Her” offers compelling proof of the creative energies summoned when musicians from across the bluegrass spectrum are brought together and turned loose.
Starting with a sweetly melancholy fiddle intro from Organic Records’ Jeremy Garrett (Infamous Stringdusters), “Between Houston and Her” matches its lyric’s geographic setting with a laid back country groove reminiscent of classic records by artists like George Strait. Sung by Sideline’s guitarist, Skip Cherryholmes, the track unfolds as a meditation by a Gulf Coast oil rig worker who must leave his beloved behind as he heads to work, punctuated by supple, tasteful soloing by Cherryholmes, banjo player Kristin Scott Benson (Grascals) and Balsam Range mandolinist Darren Nicholson, before Garrett picks up the thread again in a final outro. Underpinned by the unobtrusive yet indispensable work of bassist Kevin Kehrberg (Zoe & Cloyd), it’s a track that testifies to the broad range of influences that permeate the entire Bluegrass at the Crossroads series.
"It’s always exciting to have songs cut long after they’ve been written, and this one is such a case,” notes Bob Minner, ace flatpicker and songwriter (and long-time member of country star Tim McGraw’s band), who penned the tune with series producer Jon Weisberger. “I always enjoy the co-write with Jon — he’s never in a hurry and lets the idea and song develop at its own pace, so this one just found itself on paper easily. When Jon contacted me a few years after we had written it and said it was being cut, it was that feeling of enjoyment that the song had found a home. When he told me the group of musicians cutting it, it was exciting to hear that ensemble bring the song to life. It’s always great to hear musicians from different established groups come together and create a unique perspective."
Says Cherryholmes, “This song strikes deeply from the perspective of a married, full-time road musician. As a husband and father of two, it can get pretty tough packing another suitcase for another road trip. It wasn’t hard to identify with the lyrics and the call for the feel on this song.”
“It was a great experience to be involved in a session outside of a band setting,” he adds. “All of these remarkable players, several of whom I had known but never recorded with, worked well together with deep passion and precisely executed professionalism. I am always looking to be challenged and pushed as a musician, and they certainly gave that to me. I was greatly honored to be involved with this project.”
Listen to "Between Houston and Her" HERE.
About Bluegrass at the Crossroads
A musical cauldron of distinctively American contributions largely rooted in the rural south, bluegrass has taken on a new identity in recent years, as new times and new musicians have naturally incorporated the sounds around them in every part of the country — and even the world. At the same time, an indispensable musical core has persevered, finding ever-changing ways to create performances that cause everyone familiar with the genre to say, “now, that’s bluegrass.”
Over the years, Mountain Home Music Company and its sibling imprint, Organic Records, have become home to a family of artists who are collectively creating music that forms part of that core, but also exemplifies the adventurous, wide-ranging side of the genre. Bluegrass at the Crossroads is a series of unique encounters between members of that family from every corner — geographical, generational, stylistic and more — of the music and the communities it has inspired, inviting them to collaborate not only through fresh takes on bluegrass classics, but especially with new songs that reflect and engage with the contemporary world.