The good news is that Charlie Sizemore, a successful attorney practicing in Goodlettesville, Tenn., has found the time to release a new recording on Rounder Records.
Good News, Sizemore’s first new album in five years, introduces a rousing range of bluegrass and traditional country songs both new and old. Whether delivering a rollicking bluegrass foot-stomper like “Hey Moon” or a country drinking ballad like “Blame it on Vern,” Sizemore’s soulful voice sounds consistently convincing.
Raised in Kentucky, Sizemore is a third-generation bluegrass musician with an impressive résumé that includes a stint with Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys in the ’70s and ’80s. During those years, he gained credibility as a formidable frontman and attracted an ever-growing following among both bluegrass aficionados and fellow musicians.
In his mid-20s, he formed his own band and started classes at the University of Kentucky. He graduated with a degree in political science. Considering Sizemore’s demanding professional schedule, fans will be pleased with his re-emergence in the music scene.
Sizemore’s rendering of Paul Craft’s “Mama Turn Aloosa My Soul” is a flourishing exercise in nostalgia. “Devil on a Plow” (John Pennell and Harley Allen) offers a brief, poignant glimpse at the relationship between a son and his father, a hardworking Midwestern farmer. “Good News” also includes “Whiskey Willie,” a song written by Dixie and Tom T. Hall recounting a tale of the Civil War.
Among the originals on the new release is a collaboration between Sizemore and the Halls. Another yarn stemming from the Civil War, “The Silver Bugle” describes “Kentucky’s day in hell” and a spectral bugle that still echoes through the hills calling the boys back home.
On a lighter note, “Alison’s Band” reveals Sizemore’s mischievous wit as he feigns remorse about not being invited to join Alison Krauss Union Station band, singing “but Allie won’t let me play in her band, so I guess I’ll keep foolin’ with mine.”
Sizemore sings lead vocals and guitar. He is joined by Danny Barnes on mandolin, Matt DeSpain on Dobro, John Pennell on bass and Wayne Fields on banjo.