The John Jorgensen Bluegrass Band

TRIO album. This was one of those evenings that started well and just got better and better – Whiskey Lullaby, co-written by Jon Randall and Bill Anderson and a hit for Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley, was simply sublime.

Some great instrumentals; Whiskey Before Breakfast, Jon Randall’s Lady’s Bluff and the standard Grandfather’s Clock all stood out as did the bluegrass staple John Hardy which closed the first set but not before John Jorgensen had joked that if the audience didn’t like it, they’dgot a Taylor Swift medley worked up!Like it they did! Another instrumental, written by Herb Pederson and John Jorgensen was given the title Gina after the highway patrol officer who gave him a speeding ticket; terrific mandolin from John Jorgensen. Jorgensen led on Rodney Crowell’s lovely ballad Wandering Boy although, for this one, I found it difficult not to draw a vocal comparison with the songwriter. Surprise of the evening was a bluegrass rendition of British invasion duo Chad and Jeremy’s Yesterday’s Gone with the Wimborne audience scoring mega brownie points for knowing the origin of the song! The band’s harmonising was out of this world on Making Plans made popular in the 60s by the Osborne Brothers and resurrected by Dolly, Linda and Emmylou on their first

The band finished as they started with Flatt a Scruggsrousing bluegrass classic Little Girl Of Mine In Tennessee which had the audience on their feet and clamouring for more. Of course they were not to be disappointed as the band re-appeared to harmonise on another old favourite Rough And Rocky which sounded as it had been lifted from the Emmylou Harris version on her BLUE KENTUCKY GIRL album. That seemed to be it but the audience would just not sit down and after a brief discussion, Herb Pederson was persuaded to finally bow out with Bill Monroe’s Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes. Somehow or other, the band managed to cram 25 numbers into two sets spanning well in excess of two hours. Each song was sensibly introduced with a minimum of chatter and the band clearly enjoyed the warmth of their Dorset reception. This was the penultimate gig of their UK tour before heading off to Norway where, with names like Jorgensen and Pederson, they are certain to be well received. John

Multi-talented and world renowned instrumentalist John Jorgensen has played and/or toured with a host of top-flight names including a six-year stint with Elton John. Well known to country/bluegrass fans as a founder member of the Desert Rose Band, he also leads his gypsy jazzoutfit the John Jorgensen Quintet. Just over a year ago, the urge to play bluegrass got the better of him and he persuaded three of his closest musical friends to join him as the John Jorgensen Bluegrass Band. For anyone schooled in reading liner notes, all three will be household names having worked with pretty well everyone in the field. Fellow Desert Rose Band member Herb Pederson (banjo) and Jon Randall (guitar) are both songwriters and recording artists in their own right with Mark Fain (upright bass) completing the line-up.

A highly enthusiastic and knowledgeable audience gave the band a rousing welcome as they launched into Beautiful Sound, a great new bluegrass number co-written by Jorgensen and fellow Desert Rose Band compatriot Chris Hillman. This set the scene for what was to follow as they featured material from the likes of Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Rodney Crowell, the Osborne Brothers, Jim & Jesse, Guy Clark, J D Souther and Herb Pederson’s early band the Dillards. Lead vocals were democratically shared between Jorgensen, Pederson and Randall who also included significant amounts of their own self-penned work. Instantly recognisable were Herb Pederson’s Old Train, Wait A Minute, written when his wife objected to his going straight back on the road after a long tour, and The Hey Boys, a Dillardssong which Herb wrote the melodies for. The latter two are included on his recently re-released album SOUTHWEST.

The John Jorgensen Bluegrass Band

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