Album Review of
One More Mountain

Written by Joe Ross
June 6, 2015 - 12:00am EDT
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The Fritts Family Band, from Rogersville, Tennessee, formed in 1986. The band has had a busy touring schedule and has released over a dozen albums during the past two decades. "One More Mountain" continues their focus on acoustic bluegrass and Americana music that incorporates elements of folk, jazz, and even classical idioms. Headed up by Larry Fritts (banjo, guitar, vocals), the rest of the band includes Jeremy Fritts (guitar, baritone guitar, mandolin), Sarah Fritts (fiddle, vocals), and Jim Bowman (bass, vocals).

They have received considerable sponsorship of the National Endowment for the Arts. Larry began playing bluegrass when he was only 12, and his first band was Bud Rose and the Country Tune Twisters from Elizabethton, Tennessee. He also played with the legendary Jimmy "Old Ridge Runner" Smith who fronted the Carl Smith show. Jeremy earned a master's degree in classical guitar from Belmont University, studied jazz with John Pell, and spent 4 years performing with the East Tennessee State University Senior Bluegrass Band. Sarah's been performing since the age of three. She's studied fiddle with Benny Sims, as well as at East Tennessee State University. Jim Bowman has been a member of several groups, has traveled abroad to entertain the troops, and has theatrical experience in the musical "Smoke on the Mountain." 

Larry, Sarah and Jim contibute ten originals to the project. Jim Bowman sings lead on his swingy original "Down At The Wayside Grill." The band provides an exhilarating arrangement of Bill Monroe's "Jerusalem Ridge" to close out the set, punctuated with the expressive guitar and mandolin picking of Jeremy Fritts. Sarah has a strong, controlled voice that is immediately appealing. Her own "Riding Through Life" incorporates the standard "Orange Blossom Special" lick on banjo to keep the song driving. Larry pens some expressive gospel truths with "My Lord Might Come Anytime," "Get On Board," and "I Know My Lord's Gonna Help Me On." Jeremy's jazzy guitar breaks (e.g. "Neapolitan Ridge") impart a personalized and pensive character to the overall Fritts Family signature sound. 

Satisfying and interesting music presented with distinction, they are not your average pickers and singers. The Fritts Family is well-deserving of more exposure and attention from the bluegrass community.