In spite of everything happening around the globe, milestones and special occasions will still come to pass. Birthdays still arrive; babies continue to be born; and the next anniversary still comes around. For Gary Brewer (of the Kentucky Ramblers), the latter is just around the bend and the bluegrass icon has decided to commemorate his 40-year anniversary in music with a new record. Suitably titled 40th Anniversary Celebration, the release is due out on May 29, 2020 via SGM Records (set your pre-order now).
What, of course, would a celebration be without friends and family? Gary Brewer has teamed up with family band, The Travelin’ McCourys, for the LP’s lead single, “Goin’ Up Shell Creek” and it premieres today on American Songwriter.
“For the single, ‘Goin’ Up Shell Creek’, I decided to feature The Travelin’ McCourys,” Brewer said. “We go way back and have so much in common. We all grew up in the music and have been blessed to be able to travel with our dads throughout our entire career thus far. Now, we both share the stage with our sons and fathers. This collaboration between myself and The Travelin’ McCourys speaks loud in tradition, and we are very proud of that.”
Sam Bush, Russell Moore, Doug Phelps (The Kentucky Headhunters), Dale Ann Bradley, Ralph Stanley II, T. Graham Brown, Ashton Shepherd, and Ralph Stanley II also make appearances on the album.
Everything about “Goin’ Up Shell Creek” exudes musical history, interpersonal connection, and a reverence for the responsibility of passing down art from one generation to the next. This makes it an ideal introduction to the band for younger listeners or, fans new to the genre of bluegrass. The same as how he values the family dynamic of his own multi-generational family band, the significance and rarity of this collaborative opportunity, for both this single and the overall album, isn’t lost on Brewer.
“I am very excited about the release of the 40-year record [and] I have chosen a handful of very diverse artists to guest on this,” Brewer said.
Goin’ up Shell Creek
Goin’ there to stay
Goin’ up Shell Creek
to cry my blues away
The track is a well written and pristinely executed bluegrass tune that keeps its energy up without losing control. The song comes equipped with every element it needs to be a complete and cohesive piece of music. The icing on the cake to this is that the music manages to present it all in an amount of time – just over two and a half minutes – that might otherwise leave some songs feeling rushed or incomplete. “Goin’ Up Shell Creek” a delightful, bite-sized sampler of the collaborations to come.