Posted by: suek2001 | August 21, 2012

China Sky…a review

I’ve had the pleasure off and on for the past few years of witnessing the musicianship of John August Lee and Fred Grittner a few times…Most notably, at the Kingston Trio Fantasy Camp just last week.

This album is a labor of love for these two talented gentlemen. It’s about putting their amazing talent to bring some great songs to life…and some special guest stars to boot…

This album has a great folky vibe to it with echoes of the past and a salute to the present…and also has whispers of the Old West with a Midwestern musical sensiblity…

The material is has a great range to it..from songs penned by both John and Fred and also John Stewart and Bill Heilmann….

Great highlights include a moving tribute to John Stewart in “Where The River Meets the Sea”…quite possibly one of the most beautiful tribute songs I’ve ever heard…to the folky-pop vibe of “Old Bailey Road”….and the killer banjo-tastic song “Long Distance Call” which features smoky vocals by George Grove and a fantastic  banjo duel between George and John August Lee…the song that is one of the sweetest surprises is the  tropical feel of the Travis Edmundson classic “Southwind”…The arrangement offers both John and Fred to flex their instrumental muscles and make it almost a calypso shuffle….the result is a stunning intrepreation with a great bluesy vocal by Fred that fits this song to a perfection….followed by a nice meditative song called “One Day”…followed by a sprightly “Mexico” featuring the booming voice of Bill Zorn..and Zorn has a great banjo solo…..and let’s not forget their really wonderful instrumental of “Chocolate Souffle”…and then a sweet tribute to those who have brought music and friendship to us all is captured in”Born To The Sun”…and featuring a nice, understated backing vocal by Rick Dougherty….and what better way to wrap up this CD than with a song written by the one songwriter that has inspired so many performers over the years..John August Lee really captures the essence in “China Sky”..making me think that John Stewart would be proud of this effort…

I could go on and on about the production being top notch but it’s better if you just buy this CD….along with “Born At the Right Time” by the Kingston Trio, this CD really is a must have for those that like their acoustic music brimming with great vocals, instrumentals and lyrics..

For a great place to preview and BUY this great disc, here’s the website you need to have..



  1. Thank You Sue. This is really appreciated ….JAL aka Trio

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