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Country Prose
by Charlie Hansen

My Better Years - Joe CaseyThis month I’ve got two new CDs to talk about. One from Joe Casey and the other from Julie Arsenault.

These CDs are both in the bluegrass vein but slightly different. Joe has taken a decidedly traditional approach while Julie’s is more in the modern style.

Let’s talk about Joe’s first. Joe has chosen a number of familiar tunes to feature on his My Better Years CD. The music on this CD ranges from the traditional tear jerker “Don’t Tell Mama I Was Drinkin’” to the Jimmy Martin classic “Maryann.” Joe has also chosen to record two original songs written by the late Wayne Brown from St. Louis.

Wayne was well know as a singer and writer of country/bluegrass songs and Joe has done Wayne’s memory justice with his versions of “Plastic Roses” and “When She Goes Home Alone.”

The CD was recorded at E.J.P. Studios in Moncton, NB with Eddy Poirier, the father of Maritime bluegrass, at the controls. Eddy also provided much of the backing tracks with Chantal Paul O’Neil playing bass and helping with the harmony.

This is a good solid effort if you like traditional bluegrass and classic country. You can get a copy of this CD from Joe at one of his performances or by calling 902-532-3410, emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or at one of Joe’s performances around the Maritimes.

Broken Strings - Julie ArsenaultThe next CD is Julie Arsenault’s debut CD called Broken Strings. Although Julie has been singing since she could talk she has only sung in a band situation for a couple of years. This CD is more on the modern side of bluegrass with some of the songs taken from other genres and hammered into the bluegrass form. Julie has taken songs from artists as diverse as Rhonda Vincent and The Stanley Brothers and made it all fit together. “Mr. Bartender” is a great effort and is sung with great conviction. Julie also covers the classic Stanley Brothers, “I’ll take The Blame” and the Hank Williams hit, “Jambalaya” and makes them all work.

Julie is assisted on this CD by Michael Richard on mandolin and David Albert on guitar. David and Michael are part of the group Two + Three which Julie is also a part of. Roger Wightman provided some banjo and Jimmy Platts played some electric guitar on the Little Big Town number, “Little White Church.”

All in all this CD is well worth a listen and if you’d like to have one you can catch Julie at one of her festival appearances or drop into The Albert N’ Crown pub in Alberton and catch Julie at work. I’m sure she’ll stop long enough to sell you a CD and say hi.

Don’t forget the Labour Day weekend features the Twin Shores Camping Area 2nd annual bluegrass festival with Mountain Connection from Kentucky as the headliner.

Listen to Bluegrass Island every Sunday evening at 9 pm on CFCY 95.1 FM in Charlottetown or on the web at

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