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ROXBORO CONNECTION “Making the Connection

Written by on July 25, 2023

Imagine three friends, who have been friends for 30 years, who are musicians, good musicians, with a ton of experience who used to talk frequently about cutting a CD, something for their kids and grandkids, but were on different paths. They just so happen to play the Mandolin, Banjo, and Dobro. Then add a fourth friend who plays the Guitar, who loved their idea, and just kept at them to get together and refused to let go of that idea! Finally, when playing for another band leader, they added a Bass player who is the icing on the cake, so to speak. Enter a ‘new’ band, this year, The Roxboro Connection.

After all this time, The Connection has self-produced a CD Album, Making The Connection, and we are fortunate enough that they have shared it with us. The members of the band, and their performance contributions are: Cliff Waddell – Guitar, Bailey Moore – Bass, David Nance – Dobro, Ronald Smith – Banjo, and Ricky Stroud – Mandolin & album Producer. All members of the band contribute, in some way, to the vocals. I’m told, a lot depends upon who remembers to step up to the Mic.

Let’s talk about the songs, on the album. There are 12 songs, with 3 being brand new or first-time recorded Originals. There are Bluegrass covers, and plus a couple of Gospel tunes. A variety of works, old and new that I found to be highly enjoyable. First up is ‘Alone and Broken Hearted’ (Herschel Sizemore, 1993) which is a mandolin and banjo tune that is fun and light, be it a sad topic. Ricky Stroud, Lead, David Nance, Tenor. ‘I’m Gonna Hurt Her On The Radio’ is not a violent song, but rather a story of how the radio could be used. (Mac McAnally/Tom Brasfield, 1984) Originally recorded by Keith Whitley. Strong Dobro on this rendition. Cliff Waddell, Lead, David Nance, Tenor. ‘(You’ll Always Be) My Blue Eyed Darling’ (Glenn Stagner, 1940) is a beautiful, old, Bluegrass Ballad, recorded way back to Roy Acuff & The Smokey Mt. Boys. Re-recorded many times. This rendition has very strong vocals. David Nance, Vocals.

‘That’s The Sound of A Breaking Heart’ (Rick Lang/Troy Engle) Original music, never recorded previously. Ricky Stroud, Lead, David Nance. Tenor. This song was released as a single. Instruments and vocals are very well done, all around; includes their version of a High Lonesome Sound. ‘Say Good Morning To The Lord’ (Charles Clifton Waddell) Original, lively, Contemporary Gospel. Dobro and Banjo are highlighted. Cliff Waddell, Lead, David Nance, Tenor. ‘Misery Loves Company’ (Jerry Reed, 1992) One of Jerry’s more popular tunes, originally recorded by Porter Wagoner. Definitely a Two-Step dance tune, and I believe used for Country Square Dance, as well. David Nance, vocals. Extra Good!!
‘She’s Just An Old Love, Turned Memory’ (John Schweers, 1977) Recorded previously by Charlie Pride. Well done all around, but not my favorite tune. (Ricky Stroud, Lead, David Nance, Tenor) ‘Houston Solution’ (Don Schlitz/Paul Lester Overstreet, 1989) Cliff Waddell, Lead, David Nance, Tenor. Originally recorded by Ronnie Milsap, this is a Modern Cowboy’s lament. At one point, went to #4 on the Billboard Country chart and I can see why. This rendition is excellent! ‘Brown Hill’ (Allen Mills/Gene Parker, 1984) originally recorded by Lost & Found, Lively, toe tapping melody, gets you ready to get up and dance. Ricky Stroud, Lead, David Nance, Tenor. This is a right nice highlight to all the instruments. Well done! ‘Timberlake Shuffle’ is a Ricky Stroud Original instrumental. True Bluegrass, but leans over so as to be included in any program of authentic, American music. All the instruments are excellent, but the Mandolin is outstanding. Whenever I play it, I always repeat a couple times, that’s how good it is! The only thing this writer would have done differently is place it earlier in the project, to make the listeners more eager to hear your instrumentation!!

‘Where No Cabins Fall’ (Nolan Jeffries/Roxboro Connection, 1978) Traditional & acapella Gospel tune that is glorious, and shows the versatility of the band. Previously record by The Country Gentlemen, also Rhonda Vincent. I liked this rendition as Roxboro put their own mark on the vocals. Ronald Smith, Lead, Bailey Moore, Bass, and others. ‘Don’t Let Nobody Tie You Down’ (Ronald Lynn Light, 1994) Originally released by Jim & Jesse. Ricky Stroud, Lead, David Nance, Tenor. Light and upbeat real bluegrass. A great way to wrap the album.

In short, this is a very good and diverse collection of music. Everyone in the band, and all their families should be very happy and proud of their accomplishments. My belief is that the families and listeners will appreciate this project.

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