Bluegrass music has dramatically expanded into other genres since the term was coined when Bill Monroe formed the Blue Grass Boys band in 1939 and the classic style was born with the addition of then 21-year-old banjo player Earl Scruggs in 1945. Today, bluegrass is reflected in everything from jazz and contemporary country to even Celtic music and rock and roll (or newgrass). Mark Whitt’s passion for the genre is etched in traditional bluegrass, which he was introduced to by his father, hence the name of his group, Mark Whitt and The True Bluegrass Band. That fondness for the pioneers is vividly illustrated in his acclaimed new CD “Over You.”
Reviewers have called Whitt’s new material geared in the traditional style “gems of bluegrass written in the Stanley Brothers’ style.” The Xenia, Ohio native and resident developed an early appreciation for traditional bluegrass from his parents, who were born and raised in eastern Kentucky, the bluegrass-rich region that produced Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley and J.D. Crowe. The new CD’s title track, “Over You,” has spent time atop the AirPlay Direct’s bluegrass category chart, and the “Over You” remains one of the top CDs in APD’s chart as well.
The project, which is Whitt’s second CD, includes two of his originals, the aforementioned “Over You” and “I Heard Sweet Music Playing.” The latter song was written as a tribute to his father, Vinson Whitt. The two shared a love for bluegrass and traditional mountain music, and when Vinson appeared to Mark in a dream days after his death, Mark wrote “I Heard Sweet Music Playing” to reflect the vision where his father assured that he was doing well in Heaven.
“He didn’t speak, but he gave me a sense that he was OK and that he was in heaven,” Whitt said about the dream. “I woke up with tears in my eyes, walked downstairs, pulled out a notepad and wrote down words describing what had just happened.
“That song is an example of how bluegrass music is ingrained in my heart because it is passionate, deep rooted and tells the stories of life experiences,” Whitt added. “Traditional bluegrass and gospel music is special that way, and it is why my music is solely focused on the traditional style of the legends that inspire me.”
Produced and engineered by fellow Ohioan Clay Hess, who also played most of the instruments in the studio, the “Over You” CD features an array of Stanley Brothers favorites, like Let Me Be Your Friend and How Mountain Girls Can Love. Whitt also performs his renditions of Flatt & Scruggs’ My Cabin In Caroline and Blue Ridge Cabin Home.
The ll tracks on “Over You” include:
- Let Me Be Your Friend
2. Shenandoah Waltz
3. How Mountain Girls Can Love
4. Over You
5. Blue Ridge Cabin Home
6. I Heard Sweet Music Playing
7. Lord I’m Coming Home\
8. My Cabin In The Hills of Caroline
9. The Lonesome River
The CD is available via download or to purchase a hard copy on ITunes, CD Baby and several other outlets. For more information, visit www.markwhitttruebluegrass.com