Stories of Valor
Written by Rick Heldmann on January 8, 2023
The new CD album, ‘Stories of Valor’, by Roger Cline, is more than a collection of songs in an album. It is truly an anthology of various different short stories, telling of the author’s life experiences and stories heard along the way. Before getting to any details, I do want to say that I found the use of the CD panels, for the very extensive liner notes produced by Roger Cline Music & Walnut Run Music, to be a singularly enjoyable feature of the album. This would be lost in Mp3 format. Kudos to all involved. Out of the 10 songs on the album, 9 are all original music written by Roger Cline, except for a collaboration with Gary Ferguson on ‘Long Time Gone From Brooklyn’, and another ‘The Painting on The Wall’ with Vern Culp. ‘Crown of Thorns’ is a heart-warming Traditional song by Ira Stanphill. ‘Endless Fields’ is a true story, of Roger’s grandparents who gave up everything they knew for the hope of a new and better life. The title track, ‘Stories of Valor’, is a fictional story, yet inspired by the experiences and memories of Roger during the Vietnam conflict, and I assure you will be felt by many of the listeners, such as me. Still, I believe the song goes way beyond the Vietnam experience. This song has the feel of a potential Patriotic classic. You who are ‘on the air’ personalities may want to make a note about this one. ‘Shepherd’ is an excellent Bluegrass number, with lively vocals! ‘Long Time Gone From Brooklyn;’ is a Civil War era song, from the perspective of the woman, waiting at home. ‘Saturday Shuffle’ is a fun Bluegrass instrumental tune, and Roger credits the collaborating musicians for the excellent result. ’The Painting on The Wall’ is an interesting song, written by virtue of attending a Louisa Branscomb Songwriting Seminar. Well done! I would call ‘Call of Duty’ a lively, but haunting Bluegrass ballad; fun but with a message. The Dobro contribution by Gary Hultman is superb. ‘The Revelator’ is a wonderful tune based on the visions of the Apostle John, as he writes in the ‘Revelations’. Though, that is the basis for the song, the listener may find it difficult not to be simply enchanted by the music. Simply put, it is a marvelous effort. ‘Hold On’ is about those who serve, and do so at great sacrifice by their families left at home, which is a thread throughout the album. This one is framed in a movin’ Bluegrass tune. The finale is well done, and wraps the package with ‘Crown of Thorns’, a traditional Gospel classic. The list of musicians and singers contributing to the album is extensive. They include Guitar – Roger Cline, Bass – Debbie Durant, Tom Hensler, Mandolin – Scott Freeman, Dobro – Gary Hultman, Banjo – John Scott Walker, Fiddle – Nikki Wright, Viola – Dennis Hertzog, Conga/Shaker – Suzanne Powell. Lead Vocals – Roger Cline, Jeanette Williams, Harmony – Debbie Durant, Roger Cline, Jeanette Williams, Johnny Williams, Ursula Sheaffer, Colleen Craven, Tom Beers. In summary, ‘Stories of Valor’ by Roger Cline is an interesting and in depth look at parts of a songwriter’s and storyteller’s life; offering tunes that are unique, original, and diversified. I found the album to be completely enjoyable and entertaining, and I believe the album will appeal to a wide audience. You can follow Roger on facebook and rogerclinemusic.com . Contact: Rick Heldmann, via facebook Messenger, reporting for The Bluegrass Jamboree.