Chad Fadely | Amity Road

New Albums

Missoula mandolin player Chad Fadely’s fourth album is all- instrumental, all the time, replete with his own material. And that’s just fine because the consummate picker, a mainstay of many area bands, has put out another good one.

He’s gathered a gaggle of stellar musicians to assist him, sharing the spotlight with Larry Chung, banjo, Isaac Callender, fiddle, Andy Dunnigan, Dobro, and Richie Reinholdt, guitar. Callender contributes bass, too, as does Ted Lowe. Fadely plays a bit of guitar and mandola on a couple as well.

The fellas launch into the rolling and melodic “Garland County” at the outset. Each gets to stretch out on breaks, leading up to a clean, tight ending. An old-style, bluesy dirge is next, started off by sleek Dobro sounds. Fadely enters delicately with a simple, tasty lead line and Reinholdt throws in some scalding guitar chords mixed with stinging high notes in an inventive solo.

The toe-tappin’ bluegrass picker “TDI” fires up with deft banjo, cookin’ on through to the surprising ending.

Fadely is a master at writing melodies that sound familiar, yet maintain originality, in a genre that sounds cookie-cutter at times. On “Vicki’s Waltz,” written for his wife, he plays a wealth of tremolo chords to a dreamy effect.

“Here We Go” stays pretty much on the C chord, with hands-down fine pickin’. A bit of arpeggio work and flat notes from Reinholdt’s guitar fires up the tune, the Dobro slithers in, then the two answer each other at the end. Cool!

The mover, “Hwy 105,” lays some rubber on the asphalt. The mando kicks it off before giving way to some nifty banjo work. Blistering guitar ensues and the Dobro snaps notes like rubber bands.

“Welcome to Slough” is the most unusual tune on the CD. It has an odd timing on the signature lick, and each picker gets to explore, taking a breath before bursting in on the four chord. Cascading rivulets of notes give the tune depth; Callender’s fiddle joins on this great arrangement.

“Crossing the Flathead” is a lovely loper, and frailing banjo highlights the finale, “For Hailey.” It sports a little fiddle muscle to round things out.

Cool arrangements abound on this album because Fadely knows what works and what doesn’t, making for fine listening. Solid production all around seals the deal.

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– Mariss McTucker