Praying Blues is a slice of bluegrass with great picking and lyrics that have a little something to say along the way. It’s a track that respects the roots and sound of traditional bluegrass, while adding a little modernity on the way. The father of bluegrass himself, Bill Monroe, combined modern sounds and traditional mountain music to create the genre and artists like Romen Buffalo keep that evolution going.
Bluegrass music doesn’t work without talented pickers to play it and The Loyal Order has some good chops from the fluid banjo work to a great dobro picking that just lifts the music up. Underneath it all, the bass keeps up a steady heartbeat and the song rambles on forward with energy and verve.
The band are all in fine voice and Romen Buffalo has a good vocal tone and real strength behind his singing. The lyrics he’s written are quite interesting and he delivers them clearly enough to get their full meaning out to the audience.
The song starts out by reminding us that while there is often a reason for something happening, there’s very rarely anything we can do about it but to “pick our poison.” Romen Buffalo talks about the position into which life can force us as he sings, “There’s a place we all go/There’s a moment of regret/All this time just makes a day/All these drugs just make you weak.”
The question that Romen Buffalo asks when he sings, “How many prayers for the morning light? How many prayers before I say goodnight? How many prayers? How many prayers for goodbye?” seems to asking about all of the things that we do for which we must have hope and for which we ought to be thankful. The message of time being short moves through this song and is reflected in the line, “It’s a calendar and a date/Don’t get lost boy/Don’t be late.”
As the song concludes, there’s a reminder that “there’s a time that we all know/There’s a reason gotta get up, Joe/ Can’t take it with you when you go/Don’t look back child, it won’t be long.”
Combining interesting lyrics, musical chops and great bluegrass spirit has been a formula that seems to have worked well for Romen Buffalo with Praying Blues. I am looking forward to hearing more of his music as time goes on.