Album Review of
Narrowing The Gap

Written by Joe Ross
March 26, 2021 - 3:02pm EDT
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Originally from Florida, Amanda Cook’s first band, with her dad who played banjo, was called High Cotton. In 2013, she released her first solo album entitled One Stop Along the Road. In 2016, she and banjo-player Carolyne VanLierop-Boone formed their band called Kennesaw Ridge. Now relocated to Virginia, Amanda Cook is associated with the Mountain Fever label, and Narrowing the Gap is her third release for them, following Deep Water in 2017 and Point of No Return in 2019. According to Cook, the hard-working band has settled, is an unstoppable team, and is “narrowing the gap on where they were and where they want to be.” Fiddler George Mason is also an original member of the band. Others on the album include Aaron “Frosty” Foster (guitar), Josh Faul (bass), Jeff Partin (Dobro) and Aaron Ramsey (mandolin). Sadly, Foster passed away unexpectedly at age 28 in February, 2021. According to liner notes, Troy Boone joined the band in 2021. Amanda Cook offers solid contemporary bluegrass songs, drawn not only from her own pen (“Lonesome Leaving Train” and “My Used To Be Blue Ridge Mountain Home”), a couple from VanLierop-Boone (“West Virginia Coal” and “Light in This World”), and others from noteworthy bluegrass songwriters like Mark Brinkman, Craig Market, Donna Hughes and more. Cook’s pure, sweet voice is out front as the band drives a number like the up-tempo “Get On Board” or breezily romantic “When You Come Back Down.” Amanda Cook’s Narrowing the Gap is a real enjoyable bluegrass album.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)