Track Premiere: Bounty Hunter from Unspoken Tradition
This is one titled Bounty Hunter, written by their fellow North Carolinian Mike Cross, which appeared on his 1981 album, Live & Kickin‘. Folks who have come to the bluegrass scene over the past quarter century may not remember Mike, but he was a favorite performer at festivals in the 1980s, working as a solo act and holding audiences in the palm of his hand.
Unspoken Tradition guitarist and vocalist Audie McGinnis says that he has been circling this song for quite some time.
“My dad listens to all kinds of music, and his tastes have been a big part of my musical development over the years. He suggested this song years ago, and it took me a long time to come around to covering it because I needed to really visualize it as an Unspoken Tradition song. I finally brought it to the band during our recording of Imaginary Lines, and I think the band did a great job of materializing what I’d been hearing in my head.
In bluegrass, there are lots of prison songs. There are some, but not as many, fugitive songs. Most of those focus on the chase, and not the ‘showdown.’ This song is cool because it details the battle between the narrator and his would-be captor, and never describes the crime committed (which I assume he’s guilty of, since there’s talk of reaping what you sow). This song emphasizes the present obstacle…escaping just to live another day. There’s something poignant in that. I also love the ego of the bounty hunter, and he meets his fate in a humbling way as well. There’s a lot to unpack in this song: good vs. evil, hubris, guilt, survival, and reciprocity. It’s a great songwriter’s song, and I feel like we’ve put our touch on it to adopt it as a great bluegrass song.”
Bounty Hunter was recorded with McGinnis on guitar, his brother Zane McGinnis on banjo, Ty Gilpin on mandolin, Tim Gardner on fiddle, and Sav Sankaran on bass.
Have a listen…
Imaginary Lines will be available on June 10 from popular download and streaming services online. Pre-orders and pre-saves are enabled now.
Radio programmers will find the album at AirPlay Direct.
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