Since I was 18, summer has been a time of road trips and self-exploration (though less so this summer due to high gas prices- but hey, less emissions!). So imagine my delight that Drew Emmitt’s third solo effort, out earlier this summer, is titled Long Road. According to Emmitt (my favorite Buddhist mandolinist), the new album is “all about where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, where’ve I’ve ended up, [and] I invited all of my friends I met along the way to help me tell the story.” Those friends include Billy Nershi of the String Cheese Incident on dobro and Jeff Swipe of Leftover Salmon and the Aquarium Rescue Unit on drums, to name just two of the artists that make up what Emmitt calls “my heaven band.” The talent and versatility of the musicians, coupled with Emmitt’s master talents as songwriter and storyteller contribute to the overall tone of the album, one of self-discovery, a true bluegrass narrative of beautiful, relatable tales. The album also includes an artfully reworked version of Supertramps “Take the Long Way Home,” that has officially become my song of the summer. But the covers should never overshadow Emmitt’s original songs, such as the title track, where Emmitt sings “Lord you know I’ve been so many places/ At least I know I have a longer view.” The CD is like an old friend (who may or may not have a flask of whiskey on them) that you want to invite into your home again and again to reminisce about the outward journeys that inevitably become inner journeys.
FYI: You can catch the Emmitt Nershi band at this weekend’s (August 15th-17th) Yarmony Grass Festival in Copper Mountain, Colordo.