Album Review of
Catch Tomorrow

Written by Joe Ross
November 5, 2014 - 12:00am EST
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Back in the ol' days, bluegrass was a male-dominated genre of music. Now, we find a large co-ed contingent of musical mechanics who know just how to tune the bluegrass motor. Anchored by Dale Ann Bradley's silky voice and solid guitar rhythms, we hear Vicki Simmons (bass, vocals), Alison Brown (banjo), and Andrea Zonn (vocals) on this well-produced solo project, her third. Dale Ann, a Kentucky preacher's daughter, has fantastic voice, band, songwriting and storytelling. Others helping on this album include Jim Lauderdale, Tim O'Brien, Jeff White, Steve Gulley, Michael Cleveland, Pete Kelly, Andy Hall, Jesse Brock and Glenn Gibson. What a great idea to sing a splendid hymn! (Pass Me Not) with Larry Sparks! Their arrangement is given sparse treatment with only guitar, bass and mandolin accompaniment. And her country duet with Marty Raybon (Holding on to Nothing) recognizes her lifelong objective of being able to sing just like Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner used to.

For an essence of the Emerald Isle, "When the Mist Comes Again" is spiced up with the magical accompaniment of the Irish group Lunasa for a profound tale of desertion and alcoholism. For those in search of propulsive bluegrass look no further than "Run Rufus Run," "Julia Belle," and "Rita Mae." Being from Oregon, I could relate to the message in "I Can't Stand the Rain," a soulful song adapted from R&B music that asks "Hey window pain do you remember, how sweet it used to be?" David A. Thompson's "Mercy Railroad" has a spiritual undercurrent of a child being sent to freedom on the Underground Rail while the sorrowful mother finds freedom of her own on Heaven's Mercy Rail.

Dale Ann is more cognizant now about how important the messages and stories are in her songs. Life is often about achieving one's goals and dreams. Faith, hope, compassion and love are the values that she sings about, often as she relates tales about her young moonshiner cousin trying to help his family (Run Rufus Run), grandmother's love and wisdom (Grandma's Gift), and other characters (Rita Mae, Me and Bobby McGee). Inanimate objects have personalities too as she relates in "Memories, Miles and Tears," about a dearly loved family car purchased early in a marriage and that traveled to Niagara Falls and "didn't use a drop of oil." What a great analogy for long-lasting sweet love! Even the feminine qualities of a steamboat are related in John Hartford's "Julia Belle" as the boat itself tells its story.

Dale Ann's own temperament and disposition come through loud and clear. She once said, "When you've got the desire to write and sing, it's who you are...It's important to express something long lasting. Music has the power to be a healing thing." So true _so true! "Catch Tomorrow" is an album with a lot of comforting and soothing qualities.

After releasing this album, Dale Ann went on to win the IBMA's Female Vocalist of the Year Award in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012. "Catch Tomorrow" was a driving force and stimulus for Dale Ann the dreamcatcher to achieve that honor. (Joe Ross)