Nothin' Fancy - It's a Good Feeling
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It's a Good Feeling (Mountain Fever, 2017)

Nothin' Fancy

Reviewed by Devin Adams

Looking back at the longevity of Nothin' Fancy and the footprint it has left and is still leaving on the world of bluegrass music gives Mike Andes quite a good feeling. As a founding member, he has seen changes in the music as well as changes in the band, but the feeling remains the same. Newer members Caleb and James Cox (guitar and bass, respectively) get to play with such good friends, a sentiment Mitchell Davis (banjo) and Chris Sexton (fiddle) share as well, making "It's A Good Feeling" the only fitting name for this project.

The title track, sung by Andes, gets things started as a tribute to "a good feeling, feeling in love with you" in fitting fashion. A strong version of Charley Pride's "Kiss An Angel Good Morning," follows Caleb Cox's "The Golden Rule.' The song deals with thoughts of a young man growing up on a farm and wondering what is out in the world beyond feeding hogs and hoeing corn. A burning version of Jim and Jesse's "Hard Hearted" plays a sneaky trick on the ears. The song is upbeat and sounds happy, but lyrically, is anything but.

"Steel Bars" gives a taste of the other side of the feel-good coin. An obvious prison song, it tells about what it is like to be the newest resident of a jail cell, including writing a letter home, the feeling of guilt and acceptance of the punishment and finally to remorse for the crime. Andes paints a stunningly bleak picture.

Andes' own "Guitar, Suitcase, And A Bible" is a cleverly written and inspirational tale of an old homeless man who can travel by guitar "from New York to Nashville on one set of strings" and has never wanted for anything since leaving home as a young man.

Through the years of time and change, Nothin' Fancy continues to make feel-good music while retaining the ability to write about the other side of the coin. "It's A Good Feeling" will leave listeners with a good feeling of their own.

CDs by Nothin' Fancy

It's a Good Feeling, 2017 Where I Came From, 2016 Lord Bless This House, 2009 #7, 2006

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