Reviews & Media

Reviews of the Jack Abeel and Margaret Graham Band’s upcoming CD, Edging the Grass:

“An impressive set of music ranging from traditional fiddle tunes, waltzes, swing, with a few original compositions thrown in for good measure. Tastefully arranged, well recorded and most of all . . . beautifully played”

Robert Shafer, Multi-winner National Guitar Flatpicking Champion

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“As I’m sitting here in Tennessee listening to Jack Abeel and Margaret Graham on their new CD, one thought comes to mind. That is I wish I had studied formal violin when I had the chance, not to mention perhaps practicing a bit more on the guitar. Margaret’s fearless and formidable playing along with Jack’s super solid and creative guitar accompaniment (I could have said the same about either one) gives me assurance that while old melodies are safe in their hands, masterful innovation is at work in their music as well.

I met Jack (renowned historic restoration specialist) and Margaret (now in college majoring in engineering) a few years back at a festival in West Virginia, my native state, and right away I was captivated by Margaret’s playing—specifically her tone and intonation. My great friend, the late Joe Dobbs, urged me to come join him and Margaret on some tunes. I immediately enjoyed her playing so much that I don’t recall having taken my unworthy instrument out of its case. However, later that evening, Margaret and I, along with Jack and Joe, played a couple of tunes on stage, which was the highlight of my evening. I was hooked.

All the above I wrote to get to this point. Jack and Margaret, along with the masterful artistry of Eddie and Martha Adcock, have created the audio entity which you now hold in your hands and should, if you haven’t already done so, pop it into your CD player as soon as possible. Contained herein are some old familiar tunes and some newer tunes which may be unfamiliar, including three Jack Abeel originals: “Snowflakes and Diamonds,” “Lee’s Retreat” and “Border Crossing.” In due time, however, I’m sure these tunes will all be familiar favorites of yours as they now are mine. Enjoy!”

Buddy Griffin, multi-award winning fiddle champion including the coveted West Virginia Vandalia Award

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“I am happy to hear this CD, a collaborative musical effort from Jack Abeel and Margaret Graham.

Edging The Grass is a collection of tunes ranging from old favorites, to favorites with new arrangements, to brand new originals, all performed well by Margaret and Jack, and guest musicians too. As you listen, you’ll hear familiar tunes and be impressed by the sincerity of the performances to honor these melodies they chose to record and to pay homage to legends that inspired this recording.

“Little Rock Getaway,” “Ashokan Farewell,” “Cotton Patch Rag,” and “Alabama Jubilee” are a few songs that anyone can love and most musicians will try to play, but it is then you realize it takes lots of dedication and hours of time to play them well. Jack and Margaret both excel at these songs and the others as well.

Margaret has learned to be respectful and reverent in her playing and to her approach to embellishment and improvisation. Hearing hints of Bobby Hicks and Kenny Baker and others in her playing is delightful and I appreciate that level of sincerity. I really love her work on “Back Up and Push,” ”Cotton Patch Rag,” and “Ashokan Farewell.” She brings out some of her own artistry in those songs and while playing with Jack on his original compositions.

Jack has written really nice tunes here, all which show musical depth and reveal his love of a good melody and guitar clarity. “Lee’s Retreat,” “Border Crossing,” and his most known, “Snowflakes and Diamonds,” all have traditional value and style—but show how to make that work in a variety of ways. He also has much respect for the other songwriters and, like Margaret, plays his heart out on all the songs included here. Jack focuses on clarity of melody and melodic lines even when departing from the written melody, creatively weaving in and out with cross-picking and single notes too, and his rhythm playing is also very solid and just right!

The two of them work well together and are delightful to hear.

Enjoy Edging The Grass. I did. I know you will too!”

Jim Hurst, International Bluegrass Music Association 2015 Guitar Player of the Year

 

http://www.progress-index.com/news/20160811/st-pauls-episcopal-church-to-host-dinner-and-bluegrass-event

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, Sun. Sept. 4, 2016
Parkersburg News & Sentinel  Sun 09-04-2016 p 1,7