Local CD Review: John thomas Oaks

Blue York

Knoxville banjo player and singer John thomas Oaks recalls his years in the big city on Blue York, a solid set of contemporary and classic bluegrass songs based on Oaks' recent stint in the music and theater world in New York. Oaks and his band effortlessly swap back and forth between traditional barnburners ("Goin' Up to Harlem"), country-inspired ballads ("Worth It All," with lovely lead vocals by Emilee Cook), and bluesy stomps ("Roseangela"), never straying too far from their roots in smooth, Blue Highway-like (and audience-friendly) pop bluegrass.