Album Review of
The Hunnicutt Collection (Volume Five)

Written by Joe Ross
May 12, 2014 - 12:00am EDT
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Tom Hunnicutt (Captain "T") hails from a small town in northern Arkansas that is only 67 miles from the home of Jimmy Driftwood. It's no wonder that this current "Arkansas Folk Music Ambassador" wrote one of his songs, "Mountain View," to honor the memory of Jimmy and his hometown. In fact, all of Hunnicutt's songs are about Arkansas and his life experiences including service in Vietnam as a Marine. Besides playing guitar and singing, Captain "T" also plays the jaw harp like Driftwood used to do on occasion. For instrumental support, Tom enlisted the inimitable Tim Crouch on guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, and rhythm drum. The Arkansas state champion fiddler fills the country, folk and bluegrass soundscapes with highly accomplished musicality that complements Tom's downhome vocals. The twin fiddles on "Joanie" are perfectly alluring for this slower country number. Doug Driesel also showcases his solid abilities on bass guitar and as the harmony vocalist. A bluegrass arrangement of "The Marines' Hymn" features Ernie Lewis and Kenny Walters. 

Captain "T" is interested in getting his music more widely heard, and a couple of his songs ("Spring River Eulogy" and "Chasing The Fiddle") have been featured on Volumes 80 and 81 of the Prime Cuts of Bluegrass samplers. I enjoyed hearing his stories and visualizing this Arkansawyan's images of home. Folks from that region should especially enjoy this minstrel's uplifting statements about the "land of plenty, land of awe" called Arkansas. Hunnicutt is trying to get the State of Arkansas to make "The Natural State Song" the first state song with that image. Jimmy Driftwood's music eventually became marred by over production that included continual snare drumming and slick Nashville harmonies. Hunnicutt wisely keeps his music more minimalist, and it radiates with a nostalgic glow that emphasizes his love of homestead, hearth, family and God. (Joe Ross)