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Jeremy Stephens How I Hear It

Donald Teplyske  |  September 12, 2021

Rebel Records

With High Fidelity, Jeremy Stephens has come to the fore of bluegrass banjo, and while he isn't yet garnering significant attention from the voting members of the IBMA awards, he and his fiddle playing spouse Corrina Rose Logston are increasingly prominent within our tiny world.

Fourteen titles comprise "How I Hear It," leaning toward vocal over purely instrumental numbers. Highlights include the vocal duets with Logston "Could I Knock on Your Door" and the impassioned "That Glorious Day."

Those who appreciate the back story on song and instrument selection will be pleased to find copious notes included. Enlightening it was to learn that Stephens plays Don Reno's guitar and banjo on "Since Wedding Bells Have Rung," while having Ronnie Reno sing the lead.

Hunter Berry, long noted as one of the finest—if not the finest—Benny Martin-styled fiddlers working today is featured on four numbers throughout the recording, including on "Virginia Waltz" and a sparking rendition of "The Old Spinning Wheel." Mike Bub plays the bass throughout (with the exception of a single song), while Logston contributes guitar, fiddle, and harmony and duet vocals; their homey rendition of "You'll Be Lonesome Too" is especially pleasing.

Paul Brewster takes the lead on the spirited "I'll Be Happy In My Home" with the trio of Stephens (multi-tracking banjo, guitar, mandolin, and fiddle), Logston (lead fiddle), and Bub (bass) delivering a bright performance of the seldom encountered "I'm Lost Without You," from Dee Stone and His Melody Hill-Billys.

Additional guests include David Grier (guitar on a few pieces including "The Bells of St. Mary," "Sockeye," and "The Old Spinning Wheel") and Danny Davis (vocals) and Brad Benge (bass) on "Beautiful Blue Eyes," the only song on the album that I didn't appreciate: it's the song, not the performance.

Jeremy Stephens is one of the most friendly, personable, and accommodating bluegrass musicians I've encountered. With High Fidelity, he is charting a course toward success. "How I Hear It" is certain to please those who have been following his course the last decade or so.

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