Commentary

SHILOH RIDGE BAND – BIG PAYDAY BLUES
This latest recording from Pennsylvania’s Shiloh Ridge is confirmation that they are quickly becoming one of the top bluegrass bands in the Mid-Atlantic region. Since their previous release (BU, Oct. 2002), they have continued to hone their talents and expand their horizons. The strongest suits in this 13-song collection are the band’s precise vocal harmonies and the fervent original material created by bandmembers Keith Kupp (banjo and vocals) and Larry Bloom (guitar and vocals). Some of the more notable selections are the album’s title song “Unsatisfied,” “Who’s Gonna Have Your Soul,” and the instrumental “Mudslide.” In summary, the contents of “Big Payday Blues” clearly cry out that Shiloh Ridge is one bluegrass band that bears close scrutiny in the coming years.

~Bluegrass Unlimited, December 2006


SHILOH RIDGE PLAYS WITH FEW WIRES ATTACHED
Three important elements go into a Shiloh Ridge performance: humor, strong vocals and beautiful bluegrass instrumentals. These elements will make an appearance Saturday at Jefferson Fire Co. in CodorusTownship Saturday night. Originally known as the Penn-Del Mountain Boys (a change in the bluegrass band’s line-up prompted a change in the band’s name as well), Shiloh Ridge plays regularly throughout eastern Pennsylvania and into Maryland. Always motivated to reach fresh audiences, the band is trying to get into new markets as well; it has some upcoming shows scheduled in North Carolina and Virginia.

Shiloh Ridge consists of five members who come from all over southern Pennsylvania. Larry Bloom of Shiloh plays acoustic guitar; Ephrata resident Keith Kupp plays banjo.  Mandolin player Jim Watson is from Stewartstown and Steve Harrington, who plays slide/resophonic guitar, lives in Airville.  The band’s newest member, Ron Rice, hails from Gettysburg and plays both electric and acoustic upright bass.

The band’s performances are usually acoustic, each member’s respective instrument is amplified with a regular microphone, but every so often, Rice will bring out an electric upright bass, rather than the traditional acoustic bass. “I don’t know what that is he’s playing,” Bloom recently joked about the electric bass, which looks nothing like it’s acoustic counterpart. And humor like that is an important part of Shiloh Ridge’s show. In introducing a song about not wanting a particular lady, “You can have her/I don’t want her,” says the song.  Bloom both notes and jokes that “women don’t behave themselves in bluegrass.”  At a recent show, during a “duel” between Bloom’s acoustic guitar and Kupp’s banjo, Kupp joked, “Do you want me to play your mistakes, too?”

Stage humor aside, Shiloh Ridge uses its vocal and instrumental abilities to its advantage. Each band member sings very well and uses his vocal range to the best of its abilities. While all of the band members do not sing for every song, a few of Shiloh Ridge’s originals are instrumental pieces, each song that contains vocal lines often works with some sort of three-part harmony, which creates a fuller, more textured vocal sound. Such is the case with Shiloh Ridge’s acapella section of “How Great Thou Art.”

The instrumentals in each song further testify to the band’s collective musical abilities.  Whether Shiloh Ridge is playing an original song or covering an old country standard, the instrumental sound is always tight and together and helps to transmit the general feeling of the song. The frantic, fast-paced instrumentals of “Run Around” complement the song’s title, or perhaps the title complements the instrumental sound.  In the same way, Shiloh Ridge’s instrumentals gently drift through ballads such as “ The Tennessee Blues.”

Crowds for Shiloh Ridge are enthusiastic, whether applauding after songs, laughing at the band’s jokes or making song requests that the band happily fulfills.

~By Katie Strzeszewski / for the Dispatch/Sunday News


SHILOH RIDGE – I’LL BE ALL RIGHT – No label, no number. From York County, PA., comes Shiloh Ridge, with an appealing assortment of mainstream bluegrass adorned with a substantial dose of originality. The group is made up of Larry Bloom (guitar, lead and harmony vocals), Keith Kupp (banjo and vocals), Steve Harrington (resonator guitar, lead and harmony vocals), Jim Watson (mandolin, lead and harmony vocals), and Pat Lampman (bass and vocals). “I’ll Be All Right” is apparently the band’s first recording effort and consists of a dozen performances including several original pieces like the title song, Steve Harrington’s “City Lights,” Jim Watson’s instrumental “Minor Incident,” and Larry Bloom’s “With You By My Side.” Quickly recognizable numbers include “Cold Sheets Of Rain” and “Three Men On A Mountain.” From the contents of “I’ll Be All Right,” Shiloh Ridge proves to be an outstanding musical aggregation with a boundless level of energy. Expect to hear much more from these folks as their careers progress.

~Bluegrass Unlimited, Oct. 2002


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