Miles Gannett – Meridian
Upon reviewing this CD it came to mind several times that there was only one term to describe it and that would be: “original.” With that said, it is steeped in bluegrass, folk, and traditional makeup. What makes it original is Gannett’s songwriting with his penning of 11 of the twelve songs and co-writing the final one. Add his warm, sharp, smokey vocals, musicianship, and art of storytelling, and writing and the gumbo is just right.
On top of that, Gannett self-produced the album with Frank Marchand and it was recorded at Waterford Digital.
However, total musical credit can’t be given to Gannett who carries the guitar and vocals but whose all-star cast include Sean P. Finn on fiddle, French horn and hardanger viola, Eric Selby on drums and percussion, Joe Martone on electric and upright bass, Dave Hadley on pedal steel, Ron Stewart on banjo and mandolin, Arielle Lambert on vocals and mandolin, Doc Pine on banjo and vocals, Ahren Buchheister on mandolin, Fred Travers on dobro, Sahffi Lynne on vocals, Shelly Work on vocals, and Tim Kahn for the squirrel recording.
To say the recording is simple yet complex would be an accurate assessment.
The 12 tracks with a run time of 50 minutes and 31 seconds makes the purchase a bargain. It is evident that this production was a labor of love. The CD is well laid out with interesting cover art and includes a nice little booklet that has all that you need to know about each of the tracks. To dissect each and everyone of the tracks would be needless, as the whole album is a winner. However, these songs stuck out as exceptional and all tell wonderful and at times humorous stories in their own form.
“Meridian” is a heartbreaking ballad written about Meridian, Mississippi (home of Jimmie Rodgers) and its longing for the past days of success and where it stands now. It may seem to be just a shell of what it once was, but its people are still continuing to be proud of what they are and what they have.
“Short Haired Willie” is a rocking bluegrass tune humorously honoring Willie Nelson during his early days in Nashville. “Spores on Grass” is a light fun fiddle tune that seems be at least a partially factual story about psychedelic mushrooms, ergotized bread and LSD and the stories about their effects on the imbibers.
“Screw Loose” is a traditional humorous tale with an edgy bluegrass sound about losing your mind over love.
“Maria Sabina” is a powerful ballad based on the real-life story of Maria Sabina. Sabina was known as a Mexican “medicine man” in her use of psychedelic mushrooms and it memorializes her life, accomplishments, and tragic outcome.
Miles Gannett, with the release of this album, cannot be called anything but “original”!
Meridian can be found at Bandcamp, Amazon, and Gannett’s home page https://milesgannett.com/