Brand New Old Time Music

Adie Grey
Hey Baby!

Sing Out! Vol. 40 #1 - May/June/July 95

The title is truth in advertising. Adie Grey imbues original songs - written solo, in collaboration with husband Dave MacKenzie or written by MacKenzie - with a foot-tapping, neo-authentic sound. The songs all sound like they could be 60 years old, yet with modern sensibilities. She bridges the chasm between country and urban folk. MacKenzie contributes choice guitar picking to all of the cuts, with John Hartford donating banjo on several, and even a harmony or two thrown in by Wynonna Judd. The songs range from old-timey to bluesy to country. The opening defiant anthem "I May Be Down (But I Ain’t Done)" kicks things off to a good start. "On The South Side Of Town" brings to mind "St. James Infirmary." "Underneath The Tennessee Moon," recorded at KPFK in Los Angeles, revels in great low-key instrumental picking with dynamic solos by MacKenzie and Dick Fegy on mandolin. Grey builds ominous impending fury in "Hurricane’s Comin’." She captures one of the best musical descriptions of this natural phenomenon in very human terms. The use of dulcimer and bodran add to the distinctive sound. You’ll catch yourself humming the chorus of "Better With Time" after the disc stops spinning. "That Good Ol’ Boy" sounds like it could be a Bessie Smith number. Grey’s difficult-to-describe voice is neither sweet songbird nor gravel pit. She easily puts across the songs with an eminently listenable (and enjoyable) vocal quality. All told this sounds like few (if any) other singer-songwriter recordings, with its refreshing old-fashioned approach, entertaining songs, and high quality musicianship.

Dirty Linen, No. 59 - August/Sept. 95

Singer Adie Grey settled in Nashville a few years ago after some time in southern California. She and her husband/producer/guitarist Dave MacKenzie wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs on her initial recording. Stylistically, the compositions are a blend of old time country, blues, and bluegrass, with a touch of swing. Grey has a talented, expressive voice that fits her material comfortably. Arrangements are presented in ensemble format with configurations including guitar, bass, fiddle, banjo, and mandolin in addition to Grey’s own mountain dulcimer. The homey, uptempo first tract "I May Be Down (But I Ain’t Done)" sets a relaxing, friendly mood for the entire album with its simple but winning lyrics and a melody that rests easy on the ear. Guest performers include John Hartford, Albert Lee, Tammy Rogers and Wynonna Judd. This diamond-in-the-rough is a wonderful surprise and highly recommended.

The Performing Songwriter - July/August 1995

As the title suggests, this is a collection of tunes that could easily transport you to another time and place. Perhaps sitting on the front porch, sipping lemonade and listening to the Carter Family on the Victrolla. These eleven songs are the kind of country music that is simple yet intelligent, and it’s a credit to Grey and her co-producer/guitarist, Dave MacKenzie.

Things get off to an upbeat start with "I May Be Down (But I Ain’t Done)" followed by a tribute to Roy Acuff, "Mr. Roy," which has the king of country music "riding off to glory on the Wabash Cannonball." "On The South Side Of Town" takes you through dimly lit alleys and smokey barrooms as a tale of betrayal and murder is slowly revealed. "Better With Time" is an infectious ode to marital fidelity. The album closes with what may be the finest tune, "A Better Way," a gentle appeal for a little spiritual enlightenment. It sounds like a standard on the first listen.

Grey is joined by some of Nashville’s best including Tammy Rogers on fiddle and John Hartford on banjo. Wynonna Judd makes a guest appearance, lending vocal support on "That Good Ol’ Boy." She may call it Old Time Music, but on her debut Grey proves that good songs are timeless.

Blue Suede News #31

Adie Grey also has some help on her new CD in Wynonna Judd, John Hartford, Albert Lee (on banjo, guitar and mandolin), Dick Fegy, Ranger Doug and hubby Dave MacKenzie, who wrote or co-wrote with Grey all but one of the tunes. Grey sings and plays dulcimer, and harmonizes with herself, but doesn’t play the electric guitar she’s holding in the cover photo (taken by Kris Kristofferson!). The music is just what the title says - old time country/folk music, and continues the tradition of MacKenzie’s earlier title on this label of excellent music. "Mr. Roy" is a tribute to Roy Acuff, to whom the album is dedicated. Not that I would be inclined to, but I can’t fault any of this music, it’s very comfortable to this country boy’s ears. She’s a fine singer, and I like every one of these songs. This musical approach is not so demanding of your attention (both physically and mentally) as much modern music, and therefore probably more deserving of it. I’ve about had it with productions that are in your face by way of proving they deserve you attention.

In the Walnut Valley Festival list of artists: