All The Way Home
Good Heart Records GH1002
Review by Art Menius for Bluegrass Unlimited February 2001
Well known in the California bluegrass scene, mandolinist and songwriter Bob Applebaum remains best noted nationally for playing on a pair of Bela Fleck’s Rounder releases. Co-leader of Grey Eagle, he’s experimented with bluegrass MIDI, worked in film and theatrical music, and also recorded with folks as diverse as Pat Cloud, Mason Williams, and Sharon Cort. If All the Way Home earns some airplay and gets enough distribution, he’ll earn a well deserved reputation as a strong artist throughout the bluegrass world – an overnight success after some 35 years of playing.
Applebaum enlists the help of a couple dozen performers, including a bunch of bluegrass household names like Laurie Lewis, Byron Berline, Tony Trischka, Stuart Duncan, Mark Schatz, Tony Furtado, Scott Nygaard, and more. His instrumental and lyrical compositions (Applebaum wrote eight of the eleven cuts) and arrangements provide exceptional settings for the talented lot, eliciting uniformly strong performances. His lyrics, further, stand out from the lot of those written today, creating songs that engage both mind and spirit.
All the Way Home sparkles with the swing inflection common to west coast bluegrass. That light feel supports exquisite melodies. After the fourth listening songs like “Twin Hearts,” “Present Time Accepted,” and “Storm Clouds Arisin’” were burned into my consciousness, popping into my mind at each quiet moment. Applebaum and company have created the contemporary bluegrass album of the year, a disc very hard to remove from the player.