Review of October Winds
Same McDonald, Daily Press music critic.

    The Lancaster-based duo Bill and Pam Gurley make some of the finest acoustic music in eastern Virginia.

       So a new recording by this husband-and-wife team is always good news.

       This week's glad tidings come in the form of "October Winds," the newest release from the Gurleys. Bill’s polished, tasteful guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin tones blend with Pam’s pure, crystalline singing to create the signature Gurley sound. It’s never sounded better than on "October Winds."

       Not exactly bluegrass, not exactly folk, the duo inhabits its own realm of gentle rustic music.

       "October Winds" seamlessly mixes traditional tunes including "Lord Franklin" and "Shady Grove" with originals like "Storyteller," "The Good Luck Road" and the title cut. There’s also "Playing Through the Night," penned with acoustic guitar king Stephen Bennett; "Too Many Dirty Dishes," an Albert Collins composition; and "Fiddler’s Heaven," written by Bill Gurley for the late John Hartford - "with thanks for his music and words of encouragement along the way."

       The couple gets musical support from many of the area’s finest players. Jazz dude Jimmy Masters contributes acoustic bass, Bennett supplies guitar licks to two tracks, and his brother Jim Bennett offers piano and Hammond B-3 organ. A pair of mandolin players get in on the action - Tom Espinola and Steve Smith. Then there’s some guy named Bruce Hornsby adding accordion to "Face of Appalachia," a tune by Lowell George and John Sebastian.

       Altogether, this is a sparkling effort that represents yet another creative step forward for the Gurleys.

       Come on in, the winds are find. Find out more about the disc at

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Last update, June 8, 2002