As a music critic, I come in contact with all types of records – some good, some bad, but the majority of which are only worth cherry picking for the singles and chart topping hits. I review everything from pop to hip-hop to country, and when I came across bluegrass musician Cindy G’s new record Moonshiner’s Daughter, I thought it would give a little more variety to the scope of my musical taste. I was right, but I could have never guessed that I’d be writing about Moonshiner’s Daughter being the game changing record of my early fall listening guide. In twelve stylish songs Cindy G paints a picture window for us to gaze upon the northern reaches of the Appalachian wilderness where she first found her voice. She takes us through the thick brush and into a splendid array of stories, villages and the villagers who occupy them, all of whom have played a key part in making Cindy who she is today. It’s a very involved listen that I would recommend audiences give their full attention to if for no other reason than to learn a little about a criminally overlooked corner of the American landscape.
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Moonshiner’s Daughter is produced so excellently by Jim VanCleve that it feels more like a porch front jam session between old friends than it does a full blown studio album. The vivid drawl of Cindy G’s voice echoes into the distance as if to suggest that her statements are eternal and steeped in traditional prose, and the music that accompanies her lyrics is just as exponentially haunting. VanCleve went to a lot of trouble fine tuning each element in the band’s stacked sound, which alone must have taken days to separate and layer in the cryptic way that he did. To call Moonshiner’s Daughter a multifaceted record might be the biggest understatement made by a member of the music journalism community in the last decade – it’s a virtual smorgasbord of a colorful anecdotes and modern takes on very old fashioned subject matter. Listeners from ages one to one hundred won’t feel intimidated by its tenacity, but I have a feeling they will be in awe of its ambitious size.
Mixing the rock n’ roll education she got fronting bands back in the 80s with her god given knack for taking countrified charisma to a higher level of intellectualism, Cindy G has gifted her fans and critics with the bluegrass album of 2018 in Moonshiner’s Daughter. If I had any complaint with her new album it was that it had to end after the twelfth song. Listeners who have been following her since Jail Break and beyond will notice how much her style has grown and developed in just the last three years, and I think that her time dominating the underground may be coming to an end with this record.
Moonshiner’s Daughter has what it takes to bring the mainstream to its knees, and I don’t think there’s any doubt that Cindy G is finally ready to take her place in the hierarchy of bluegrass royalty.