Bob Stump & The Blue Mountain Band

For a mere six bucks, the self-released six-song sampler CD from upstate New York’s Bob Stump & The Blue Mountain Band may well be the best bargain extant in roots music. Stump (guitar, vocals, songwriter), Roy Coates (bass, harmony vocals) and Tom White (fiddle, mandolin, harmony vocals), supplemented on half the tracks by the formidable Bill Keith on banjo, Andy Bing on dobro and mandolin and Gary Fischetti on fiddle, go about their business with an easygoing grace, telling tales both poignant and warm-hearted, drawn as much from the ache as from the exhilaration of life on the road. After five of these, they sign off with a sprightly, Irish-tinged instrumental, “Temperance Reel,” all open vistas and exuberant spirits, optimistic and purposeful, with some tasty flatpicking from Stump engaging White’s empathetic fiddling in spirited dialogue. To get to this bountiful horizon, you start with a gentle, lilting country lament from the heart’s loneliest hour, “Missing You,” set on the road to somewhere minus the object of its deepest yearnings. “I’m so far away from home/so far from the things worth holding on to,” the fellows offer in poignant harmony, and en route Stump’s vivid lyrics pinpoint the desultory, unchanging interstate landmarks compelling him to get his soul’s bearings back in order, “the way I loved you, the way you loved me too.” The banjo plunks out a lonesome melody, the fiddle hums low and somber, and Stump sings with a plain, downhome sincerity; he’s not going to win any American Idol-like competitions, thank God, but the more you listen to him, the more you feel the simple honesty of his words. The opening theme continues and is expanded in a genial toe-tapper, “Walk With You,” a vow of abiding love before and beyond the grave, with White’s eager but measured mandolin solos nicely balancing energy and restraint. In what amounts to a countrified, high stepping version of “It Was A Very Good Year” titled “Pretty As a Flower,” Stump offers a fond, warm chronicle of where love began and how it deepened as a couple aged, winding up with the man at 95 and anticipating seeing his beloved again in the next life. Very good years, indeed, and part of the joy of Stump’s testimonial is his exuberant, between-verses flatpicking out of the Doc Watson school. On the other hand, in “Roadside Attraction,” Stump and the Blue boys take a lively, wry look at the detritus of a failed romance and what becomes of the broken-hearted, while also tackling the dark theme of redemption arising in the wake of addiction and imprisonment in “Long Road Home,” in which the narrator, trying to correct his destructive ways, moans, “Where’s my wife and my kids?” A preacher counsels, “You got to walk that path alone at night,” Andy Bing steps in with a pungent dobro solo that underscores the unsettled issues afflicting the singer; and when all join in harmony to sing—make that chant—“It’s been a long…it’s been a long….it’s been a long….way…home,” the challenge ahead looms ever more ominous. On the band’s website Stump says he seeks to paint “the American landscape in words and music.” The landscape in question is as much about inner geography as it is the lay of the land—and every bit as affecting. Anyone who has a heart will want to take this trip. –David McGee

Bob Stump & The Blue Mountain Band is available at

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Laura Fissinger, Christopher Hill, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (
Website Design: Kieran McGee (
Staff Photographers: Audrey Harrod (Louisville, KY;, Alicia Zappier (New York)
Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024