Welcome back to the NCR Friday Five. It has been a while since we last published the playlist, so let us begin again with some beautiful bluegrass.

1. “The Lighthouse’s Tale” by Nickel Creek
This wonderful song is easy on the soul and touching to the heart. From their 2001 Sugar Hill Records released debut album, Lighthouse’s Tale maintains the aged tradition of oral storytelling. For this song, we learn about an old lighthouse and the relationship with its keeping, set to folksy progressive bluegrass.

Nickel Creek
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2. “Walking Song” by Ron Block
Rob Block is a multi-award winning singer and song writer, known for his solo work and his collaboration with Alison Krauss. Walking Song, released in 2013 on Rounder Records, was written with Rebecca Reynolds. The song offers gentle harmonies and rich acoustic music perfect for a stroll in the foothills of Appalachia.

Ron Block
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3. “Carry Me Back” by Old Crow Medicine Show
Old Crow Medicine Show has gained fame in recent years with their many awards and kudos. The band is signed to ATO Records (known for founding member, Dave Mathews). Carry My Back is based on the former official song for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Old Crow version tells the story of a young man who answered to the call in 1861 to join Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia.

Old Crow Medicine Show
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4. “Windshield” by Greensky Bluegrass
Hailing from Kalamazoo, Michigan, this modern bluegrass act exudes this classic bluegrass feel while updating the sound for today’s fans. As the lyrics of Windshield states, “It could be years of the saddest rhymes.” This is an emotional song, dealing with sorrow and loss, but well worth the listen. Their latest album, If Sorrows Swim, was released on Big Blue Zoo Records in 2014.

Greensky Bluegrass
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5. “Empire” by Della Mae
From their Grammy nominated album, This World Oft Can Be, “Empire” shines with the strong work from the all-female Nashville-based act. The song tells the story of a small gypsum mining town, once prosperous, now abandoned. The lyrics say it well, “The miners callused hands, The women who planted seed on the land, Empire met its end.”

Della Mae
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