On the Horizon: Dale Ann Bradley's Somewhere South of Crazy

by Cat Johnson


Three-time winner of the IMBA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Female Vocalist of the Year award, Dale Ann Bradley has been steadily growing an audience of loyal fans who understand that this is a woman who simply oozes bluegrass. With a voice as deep and true as her old Kentucky home and a delivery that ranges from as sweet as the morning to as massive as a canyon without skipping a beat, Bradley is a master of bringing what we love about the bluegrass tradition into the fresh, newgrass landscape of today.
Her forthcoming album, Somewhere South of Crazy (Compass Records), which comes out on August 30, is being touted as her most mature offing yet. As Bradley herself says, “I feel I know who I am as an artist; as a person...I think that’s the maturity of it.”
The title track, which Bradley co-wrote and sings with Pam Tillis, kicks off the album with gently ripping instrumentation and harmonies, a super-catchy hook and thoughts of getting away from the daily grind, to “let the trade winds rock me like a baby/somewhere south of crazy.”
“Round and Round,” a thoughtful tune about finding peace in changing times, is the first song that Bradley has written on her own in a number of years. As she says, “It was real reflective; a song that stated how much I still love music and still love to travel, but that need to now go back and value all the other things that are so important to me.”

A surprise addition the the album is a cover of Seals & Crofts’s “Summer Breeze.” Bradley, who has a penchant for covering pop songs, points out that the tune sounds to her like a mountain song. With its references to curtains, evenings, a hard day’s work and the kitchen, she makes a good point. It is a sweet take on an old favorite that, like the best cover songs, brings to light elements of the song that you hadn’t picked up before.

Other highlights include a shredding version of “In Despair,” a tune that Bill Monroe made famous; all the more fitting since this year is the 100th birthday of the father of bluegrass.

Featuring banjo virtuoso Alison Brown, who is all over the project, including in the producers seat, Somewhere South of Crazy is held together with the solid playing of a handful of bluegrass regulars like Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Steve Gulley (guitar/vocals) and Mike Bub (bass), as well as up-and-coming youngster Sierra Hill, who lends impressive mandolin lines throughout, and more.

All in all, Bradley and company have put together a very listenable, toe-tapping album that is reflective of where mainstream bluegrass is today, with its pop and crossover tendencies, yet still has enough roots, gospel and blues to keep bluegrass traditionalists peeking over the newgrass fence to see what all the fuss is about.

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Tags: Ann, Bradley, Crazy, Dale, Somewhere, South, bluegrass, newgrass, of

Comment by Janice Brooks on July 28, 2011 at 1:20pm
Waiting for this one
Comment by Kyla Fairchild on July 28, 2011 at 1:43pm

Thanks for posting this Cat.


Here's a link to a great feature article on Dale Ann from the ND archives:


Dale Ann also duets with Alison Krauss on a great cd of artists covering Louisa Branscomb's songs. Here's a stream of that track:


  I'll Take Love by Compass Records


Here's the blurb about the album included with the track for more info:

Louisa Branscomb was born writing music for the country-bluegrass world and came to fame for the 1991 SPBGMA song of the year “Steel Rails.” Now it's 2011, she's had over 90 songs recorded in bluegrass and acoustic music, and Compass Records has announced the launch of her 9th project, the first distributed by a national label. "I'll Take Love" pairs 13 Branscomb originals with world-class vocalists and players, resulting in a musical feat as powerful in its execution as in it's originality. Co-produced by Branscomb and Missy Raines, the collection features bluegrass and acoustic vocal legends Dale Ann Bradley, John Cowan, Claire Lynch, the Whites, Dave Peterson, emerging artist Josh Williams, and more. Among other surprises is Alison Krauss returning to her early career connection with Branscomb ("Steel Rails") to sing harmony on the title track. These and other vocal and instrumental collaborations make every song a recorded event in itself.

Comment by Janice Brooks on July 28, 2011 at 5:13pm
I loved that compulation particuarly Learning the Blues.  Excited to meet and see Dale Anne twice last year at a festival near me and at IBMA.
Comment by Cat Johnson on July 29, 2011 at 9:01am

@Janice - I think it will be well worth the wait for you. Let us know what you think of it, will you? I haven't had a chance to see Dale Ann live yet. Hopefully one of these days.


@Kyla - You're welcome! Thanks for the great info, track and article. My favorite line of the interview is, "For a long time I thought Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner were the only entertainers in the world; I didn’t know there was any others." What a great picture that paints! The Bradley/Krauss duet is really sweet. I'm going to dig around the record store and see if I can scare up a copy of the compilation. I also need to learn a bit more about Branscomb. Thanks for the heads-up.







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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.