Black Music Matters Festival

Pam Gadd

The Long Road – 1997 (Vanguard)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

CDs by Pam Gadd

Pam Gadd is a Kentucky native who works in two fields often thought to be irreconcilable - the down-home world of bluegrass and the uptown scene of commercial country. On her first solo album, she synthesized both kinds of experiences - as a member the New Coon Creek Girls (bluegrass) and as a member of Wild Rose (country) - into a fresh sound that richly deserves its current Americana chart success.

This is a strong album in every respect; Gadd is a fine, earthy singer with a direct, uncluttered approach, and though she is more than capable of taking center stage on the instrumental side (check out her banjo instrumentals), she has assembled a fine group of pickers. The songs are rich and varied, from Gaddfs originals like the contemplative "All The Old Men Are Gone" to the jaunty Gillian Welch number, "Patiently Waiting."

Gadd has matured into a major talent who deserves every bit - and more - of the national attention shefs now getting. She has, indeed, traveled the long road, and she hass found, on this album, a good and lasting way to tell us all about it.