"Rick Faris has consistently wowed me with his powerful vocals and virtuoso mandolin and guitar playing over the last few years with Special Consensus. He was playing mandolin when I first saw him and I immediately noticed he is a great singer live--suppose it shouldn't have surprised anyone when he switched to guitar and was just as proficient and nimble. His range makes him a natural tenor, but his lead singing is convincing and expressive. And on top of all this, he's an outstanding luthier, having built a number of great guitars--including those played on this record. In short, I thought of the guy as the vanguard of younger musicians who are carrying Bluegrass forward.
But now his solo record shows me that he's put it all together. Turns out he's also a thoughtful songwriter. He wrote or co-wrote 11 of the 12 songs on "Breaking in Lonesome," and they run the gamut from Jimmie Rodgers-style jazzy ditties ("Mississippi Steamboat Blues"), straigh-ahead waltzes ("Wrong Done Right") to contemporary Bluegrass ("If the Kansas River Can"), cool instrumentals ("Stoneman's Raid"), blazing fast 'grass ("Breaking in Lonesome"), a spooky traditional gospel song featuring Shawn Lane's soulful tenor ("Matthew and Mark's Wisdom") and a contemporary Bluegrass gospel song ("Faith in Man"). The lone cover, Aaron Bibelhouser, Thomm Jutz and Milan Miller's "How Long," fits right in. Most of these finely crafted songs feature the rocking core band of Rick on guitar and lead vocals, Justin Moses on banjo and tenor vocal, Eddie Faris on bass and baritone vocal, Laura Orshaw on fiddle, and Harry Clark on mandolin. "Never is a Long Time" and the swingy "Honeybabe" feature Special C and make it easy to see why this version of the band has been so decorated.
Bluegrass music might be entering its 9th decade, but Breaking in Lonesome proves it's more vital than ever, and this project is a perfect showcase for one of its truly bright lights. "
-Tim Stafford (Blue Highway)