Music News & Reviews

CD review: ‘Songs From My Mother’s Hand’

Mac Wiseman speaks after he was introduced as one of three new inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame in April Nashville, Tenn. His new album pays tribute to the gentle influence of his mother.
Mac Wiseman speaks after he was introduced as one of three new inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame in April Nashville, Tenn. His new album pays tribute to the gentle influence of his mother. AP

At 89, Country Music Hall of Fame member Mac Wiseman is at the end of a career that began nearly 70 years ago.

Along the way, Wiseman performed on radio stations WPTF in Raleigh and Mount Airy’s WPAQ.

He was a charter member of Flatt and Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Boys and a member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys before setting out on a long and distinguished solo career.

“Songs from My Mother’s Hand” is Wiseman’s tribute to the woman who encouraged and enabled his muse.

Sitting at the kitchen table, his mother transcribed words to songs young Mac listened to on radio broadcasts. The songs, with roots in the British Isles, became the foundation of country and bluegrass music and the key to Wiseman’s future.

While weathered and worn with age, Wiseman’s voice still retains the warmth and sincerity that earned him the moniker, “The Voice with a Heart.” It’s a voice perfectly suited for these dozen old-timey gems, which include such classics as “The Wreck of the Number Nine,” “Little Rosewood Casket,” “When It’s Lamp Lighting Time in the Valley,” “You’re a Flower Blooming in the Wildwood,” and A.P. Carter’s “Answer to Weeping Willow.”

Wiseman begins this heartfelt tribute with “Blue Ridge Mountain Blues”: “When I was young and in my prime/I left my home in Caroline.” He closes with one of his grandmother’s gospel favorites, “Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown.”

Wiseman enlists the support of several A-list musicians, including North Carolina native Jimmy Capps on guitar and mandolinist Sierra Hull, who will perform in Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater during IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass on Oct. 3.

Correspondent Jack Bernhardt

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