“Dogwood Winter” – Steve Gulley and Tim Stratford – A Review
Steve Gulley of Grasstowne and Tim Stratford of Blue Highway have put together one of the best all around recordings that I have heard in a while. Between the two, they have put together a a really well produced singer-songwriter style bluegrass set. The songs are more than chords and words. They are like portraits in music with a message or glorious picture. Dale Ann Bradley adds to the harmony vocals at times.
From “Why Ask Why?” to “Sixteen Cents”, this collection of songs will hold you glued to your stereo, a very warm and encouraging album that is a real masterpiece in my opinion.
Gulley and Stafford are so natural together, their harmonies just set the words to life. Produced by Steve and Tim, it is a beautiful, almost audiophile recording, not overdone, but it is a real good sound that fits the mood and emotion they are trying to get across. The artwork is very noteworthy, as with Winter being the theme of a couple of songs, there are some great snowscapes. I thought that I’d picked up some James Taylor influences on a couple of songs. Each song has some notes by the writers , and I caught this time around, that Tim likes James Taylor and He was in their minds when they did “Torches”.
This disc crosses lots of acoustic genres, it’s not a full blown bluegrass kicker, but more of a mellow singer-songwriter type of bluegrass with definitely that High Lonesome sound firmly in mind. Their hidden sense of humour in some of the songs is a jewel. Open your mind and I can’t see how you won’t walk away with a lightened load and a smile on your face. Sometimes a record just has it, though you can’t really say what it is, this CD has it, so I highly recommend, that you go somewhere on the web and sample it , and I’d love to hear what you think.