Thorose is an engaging singer and accomplished mandolin player. She also plays fiddle on an original waltz. She can deliver the most insipid lyric with conviction. On track eight we get 'Keep My Head Above The Water', the first really strong lyric to go with the music that she wrote for each song. The opening track, 'The Bluestack Mountain Range', is one of the stronger cuts in this collection. Charlie Boston wrote the lyrics, and Thorose wrote the music for the songs and three instrumental cuts that features her mandolin or fiddle. She has a great sense of what makes for good bluegrass and the fact that she is from London, England, makes all of this worth mentioning. The band is a group of handpicked bluegrass A-team session players including Bryan Sutton, Aubrey Haynie, Adam Steffey, Scott Vestal, Andy Leftwich, Mike Bub, and Dennis Crouch, with Monty Allen providing vocal harmony and Thorose's father, Cedric Thorose, adding some resonator guitar. As you might expect, the supporting cast is superb in their role and Thorose is a solid singer with an uncanny melodic sense in her writing or singing. The last two cuts on this project are 'The Ardara Collection', which demonstrates her mandolin skills nicely, and the swinging 'All I Need To Know', which demonstrates some great vocal chops from Thorose. These two cuts go a long way to making this project a success. It would be great to hear her do a wider ranging program than just this original material. Her instrumental work is solid, as are her vocals. Hopefully we will be hearing more from this young lady in the future.
Leanne Thorose is a remarkable talent - a lovely mandolin player, a fine fiddler and an exceptional singer. For this, her debut recording, she went to Nashville for 10 days. Some of that music city's finest came out to play with her: Bryan Sutton (guitar), Scott Vestal (banjo), Adam Steffey (mandolin), Andy Leftwich (mandolin), Dennis Crouch (bass) Mike Bub (bass) & Aubrey Haynie (fiddle). The CD also features her father, Ced Thorose on Dobro, a man who is, by the way, a fine luthier and an excellent set-up artist. In fact he made the mandolin she plays and proudly sports on the cover. The CD is produced by Mark Moseley, and recorded at his studio. Mark has worked with and recorded such renowned starts as Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, George Jones, Porter Wagoner, Lee Greenwood, Willie Nelson, Lynn Anderson, and many more. As a renowned photographer, in addition to his recording skills, Mark took the photos for the notes...as he has done for so many of Nashville's finest. As is hardly surprising for a young woman born to a mother from Donegal and father from Maryland, USA, she has wide and varied musical influences, all apparent in this fine collection with a real transatlantic feel. She got into bluegrass at the age of 14 after seeing a recording of an Alison Krauss concert...and taught herself to play bluegrass fiddle. But Leanne was also influenced by many sessions in County Donegal where the family spent their holidays. At 16, her father made her an "F" style mandolin and inspired by the likes of Bill Monroe, Chris Thile and Sam Bush, taught herself bluegrass on 8 strings. So, the CD: the songs were all written by Leanne (music) and Charlie Boston (lyrics) and there is real power...not just in the songs themselves, but in the delivery...always tasteful, always convincing, authentic. And her 3 instrumentals are wonderful...stand out among them for me is 'The Wood Road' which bursts into life with Leanne's mando and Bryan Sutton's amazing guitar. The tune itself has nice quirky touches and turns and I can perhaps best describe it as being similar in style, character and calibre to Tim O'Brien's 'The High Road'. And listen out for the fabulous, gymnastic mando flourish at the end. And her voice...just listen to how she sings the word 'cry' in "Feeling Lost"...so powerful, it almost brought a tears to my eyes. Leanne spent most of 2011 on the road as the fiddle player with the show "Essence of Ireland" and while it enhanced her reputation as a good and solid, dependable pro, it seems to have taken it's toll - but only temporarily; at least that's the impression I was left with after hearing 'Keep My Head Above The Water'. The CD finishes with some swing jazz...rather like Hot Club of Cow Town perhaps; and swing it most certainly does...it's own self-contained party! In addition, there are love songs, there are waltzes and an impressive, sensitive musicality which, if there is justice, should take her, and this recording to brand new places. Leanne has only recently turned 22 and I remember her as a teen playing at one of London's premier bluegrass jams at The Hemingford in north London. More recently, before she hit the road with "Essence of Ireland", she could also be seen at a mixed bluegrass/old timey jam at The Blue Lion, again in London. For me this was a labour of love to first listen, then listen again...and again...then write about this lovely album. More please!
"An impressive debut...Leanne's vocals are hauntingly mesmerising" - Editor Alan Cackett, Maverick Magazine.
From an Irish-American family, Leanne Thorose was born in London and raised on music - mainly acoustic, Celtic and Bluegrass. A skilled fiddle and mandolin player, since completing college she has worked with various bands in - and - around London, performed with the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band and toured with the critically acclaimed Irish dance production Essence of Ireland as their leading fiddle player. This debut album was recorded in Nashville with some of the top bluegrass musicians including Bryan Sutton, Aubrey Haynie, Adam Steffey, Scott Vestal, Andy Leftwich, Mike Bub, and Dennis Crouch joined by Leanne's father Ced Thorose on Dobro. The nine songs are all written by the UK's Charlie Boston (lyrics) and Leanne (music); she has also composed an additional three instrumental tracks, possesses an ideal country-styled voice and also plays fiddle and mandolin. Though the album naturally leans towards a bluegrass styling, there's much more to it than that. The closing 'All I Need To Know' has an infectious jazzy western swing styling that would've had ol' Bob Wills smiling from ear-to-ear, whilst 'Don't Flash That Smile' is straight down the highway bluegrass with superb picking but more importantly a powerful vocal from Leanne. Throughout this album the band is tight, Leanne's vocals are hauntingly mesmerising and the instruments are dynamically balanced as they keep a driving rhythm where needed and add subtle tones to the slower tunes. - Alan Cackett
BLUESTACK MOUNTAIN GIRL is the title of the debut album from North London-born Leanne Thorose. Brought up in a family steeped in music, she learned mandolin and fiddle a tan early age and honed her craft performing live with her parents - Ardara. Co. Donegal-born singer Mary O'Rourke and American bluegrass musician and instrument maker Ced Thorose. Leanne has embraced both musical influences and for me this is one of those standout albums that come your way every now and then. It is pure class and a breath of fresh air. Comprised of nine songs and three instrumentals, all the music was composed by Leanne. The lyrics were written by Charlie Boston and are brought to life by the voice and instrumental prowess of Leanne with a great group of guest players. The album was recorded and produced by musician/producer Mark Moseley at his Sound Control Studios in Nashville and he got the feel of the material just perfect, as you would expect from a man who made his first recording at the age of 10 and has worked with people such as Dolly Parton, George Jones, Buck Owens, Willie Nelson, Lynn Anderson and a host of other stars over the years. The album invites comparison with early Alison Krauss recordings and Leanne’s mandolin playing on instrumentals The Wood Road and The Ardara Collection is superb, as is her violin touch on the beautiful Patrick O’Rourke’s Waltz. My favourite track is Starry-Eyed, a gentle song that I found myself listening to over and over. It has great vocals and tasteful backing and with the right exposure could take Leanne Thorose into another league. Either way, this gifted young woman’s bright future in music is assured. This smashing album is available at www.laramusic.co.uk
- Joe Giltrap
It was perhaps inevitable that Leanne would turn out to be a musician, combining folk music and bluegrass. Most of her mother’s side of the family, who come from County Donegal, are musicians and her father, Ced Thorose has bluegrass roots, having originated from one of the southern states of America. I first met Leanne when she was about ten years old, shortly before she decided to teach herself mandolin, fiddle and guitar.
By the time we recorded this album, Leanne was 21 and a professional musician touring with “Essence of Ireland”. In 2010 I was determined to help her make her own CD and we agreed that we would stick to original material. I agreed to write the lyrics and Leanne agreed to write all the music, which included three instrumentals. We considered recording in England but I decided that we really needed to go to Nashville. I therefore contacted Mark Moseley, who had produced my 2002 album, “Dogwood Place”, and he secured the talents of what can only be described as some of the finest bluegrass musicians in the world under the leadership of guitarist, Bryan Sutton. These included Aubrey Haynie (fiddle), Adam Steffey and Andy Leftwich (mandolin), Mike Bub and Dennis Crouch (bass) and Scott Vestal (banjo).
I have no doubt that this debut album is the beginning of a great career.
– Charlie Boston