Renaissance Granddad

A Good Run with Great Bluegrass from Ray Cardwell

Tennessee Moon - Ray Cardwell

The Run – 3.25 Mile Creek Loop

Today’s run was my fifth run in the month of February. That’s a good start on the year and on a pace to run on more days than a typical February. I ran the same course today that I have run for the last  two runs. It is a 3.25 mile loop that is mainly flat with a couple of small increases in elevation. Initially, I thought about running 4 miles today, but after running the first mile in the fastest time this year, I decided to shorten it to 3.25 miles. I shorten the run  for two reasons. The first reason was so I wouldn’t be tired for the rest of the day! And the second because  I needed to leave time to shower and eat lunch between the end of the run and babysitting granddaughter Zoe!

The run was my best runs of the year. My time was a little more than a minute faster than my time last week over the same course. I maintained a pace averaging a little under 11 minutes per mile over the first 2 plus miles. Overall, my pace for the entire run was 11:05 min/mile. The splits were 10:49 (1) 10:59 (2) 11:25 (3) and 11:17 (.25). I really slowed down over the third mile. One reason was  to see if I could lower my heartbeat a little. The other was because I was going up one of those little rises in elevation! Overall it was a good run and left me feeling like I wanted to go out and do it again tomorrow! Ah, but my knees know better!

The Soundtrack – Tennessee Moon – Ray Cardwell

The soundtrack for the run was Tennessee Moon the 2017 release from singer, songwriter and bassist Ray Cardwell. When I first listened to this album the other night, I thought that it had a John Cowan, New Grass Revival vibe to it. When I went to read about the album I discovered two reasons. The first was that New Grass Revival alum Pat Flynn produced the album and John Cowan provided tenor and harmony vocals on the album!  Here’s a little about Ray from the Pinecastle Records website:

Ray honed his musical chops playing in The Cardwell family bluegrass band in the late 1970’s. In the ‘80s he spent time playing rock and reggae before moving to Nashville in the ‘90s to be a member of the bluegrass band, the New Tradition. He returned to his home state of Missouri a few years later to raise a family while teaching vocal and instrumental ensembles. Along the way he has had experience with an eclectic mix of musical genres from bluegrass and Americana to musical theater and Motown. Now living in Nashville, TN Cardwell has returned to his musical roots while blending in his varied influences to create a style all his own.

Ray Cardwell wrote or co-wrote nine of the twelve tracks on the album. Ray says this about his music….

“I feel my music is based upon the traditional style of bluegrass and old timey music my parents raised me on, and the collection of musical experiences I’ve had in my journey through life. My songwriting is a direct reflection of new ideas balanced with the traditions of the past.

My Thoughts….

Favorite tracks include the title track “Tennessee Moon”, the opening track “His Will”,  “Stop, Look and Listen” and “Sailin’ for Glory”.  I must not have been struggling too badly throughout the run because I remember hearing most of the songs!

Now for me maybe the most important part of any bluegrass album is the picking and there are some good pickers on Tennessee Moon. First and foremost there;s my favorite dobro player Rob Ickes. Others include Andy Leftwich on fiddle and mandolin, Jesse McReynolds on mandolin and Scott Vestall on banjo. The producer Pat Flynn also provided some fine guitar and harmony vocals. Here’s the complete line-up…..

Ray Cardwell – bass, lead and harmony vocals
Pat Flynn – guitar, harmony vocals
Danny Roberts – mandolin
Jesse McReynolds – mandolin (“Tennessee Moon”)
Scott Vestal – banjo
Rob Ickes – resonator guitar
Andy Leftwich – fiddle, mandolin
Vocals: John Cowan, Claire Lynch, Ronnie Bowman, Scott Russell, Eric Morris, Brad Reside

Links for the Further Exploration of the Music of Ray Cardwell

Pinecastle Records
Bluegrass Today

Here are three songs from Tennessee Moon.I will admit that I don’t usually like gospel but the two gospel tracks here work for me! I

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