Willard Gayheart & Friends

Willard Gayheart & Friends

Willard Gayheart & Friends

At Home in the Blue Ridge

Blue Hens Music

At the tender age of 87, grandpa Willard Gayheart has set down his first solo album. It’s a clean, professional sound, with a vocal style and range of picking that’s about as authentic as you can get. The arrangements are simple: Willard picking and singing, rhythm on a washboard, and a guitar gives a nice county point. Occasionally you hear a chord or two from the backing musicians, but this is 99% Willard, front and center. The songs have great titles: “Ern & Zorry’s Sneakin’ Bitin’ Dog” reflects the simple joys of childhood while “The Shoootin'” recalls a tragic murder. No good Appalachian set is complete without a song about death. Lastly, I mention “My Henderson Guitar”. It’s an ode to good, well-built instrument and the joy it brings the player and his audience. Freeman’s voice is not fancy or formally trained, but it’s an honest competent sound, supported by a life time of dedicated playing with other of the same mind.


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