Album Review of
Quiet Country Town

Written by Joe Ross
October 8, 2022 - 10:07am EDT
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Hailing from East Tennessee, Wildfire formed in 2000 with several band members who had been performing with J. D. Crowe and The New South.  A year later, in 2001, their debut album Uncontained turned a lot of heads. When I reviewed their sophomore project (Where Roads Divide) in 2002, I concluded that the up-and-coming contemporary bluegrass band was poised for even greater things to come. With a few more albums and over twenty years later, the band is still going strong with original members Robert Hale (guitar) and Curt Chapman (bass), now with Scott Napier (mandolin), Matt Despain (Dobro) and John Lewis (banjo).   

The band’s radio-friendly, country-infused contemporary bluegrass music continues to feature Robert Hale's smooth lead vocals, as well as a tight trio of Hale, Despain and Lewis. On Quiet Country Town, Wildfire’s signature sound continues to emphasize its crossover potential in the country music market. While J.D. Crowe had previously covered “Ride the Train,” the song has always been favorite, one I’ve personally enjoyed playing, and ready for a revival. The title cut, “Bridges and Walls,” and “Ain’t No California” will no doubt garner considerable airplay. Dale Ann Bradley appears as a guest vocalist on “What Would Your Memories Do?” and Shawn Lane’s fiddle adds a nice coloring to songs like “Bridges and Walls.” Wildfire continues as a very successful band with their original band sound, excellent repertoire, hot pickers, soulful singers, and exceptional arrangements. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)