With one acclaimed album—the Dwight McCall-produced Drifting And Dreaming (2009)—already to her credit, Ohio’s Missy Werner returns with a sophomore project that highlights her ear for an outstanding song. Recorded at The Rec Room in Nashville, with award-winning engineer Ben Surratt behind the board, Three Kinds Of Lonesome serves up 14 selections that include under-appreciated recent gems, old favorites and brand-new songs from some of the best of today’s bluegrass writers. And while a handful of guests—Mike Witcher (dobro), Aaron Till (fiddle), Ned Luberecki (banjo on “If I Fall”), Jennifer Strickland (harmony vocals) and duet partners Frank Solivan and Chris Jones—contribute to the music, the spotlight falls squarely on Missy’s veteran touring band (Jeff Roberts, Tim Strong, Artie Werner) and on her expressive voice.
“Dwight set a really high bar with a great set of songs and performances on Drifting And Dreaming,” says producer Jon Weisberger, who, with co-writers Jeremy Garrett, Ashley Lewis, Lisa Shaffer and Jennifer Strickland, contributed four songs to the album. “But I was confident that Missy and her guys were up to the challenge of creating an album that they could live up to on any stage and in front of any audience—and that’s exactly what Three Kinds Of Lonesome turned out to be.”
From the sleek, contemporary lines of the project’s opener, “I’d Rather Love A Memory” to the closing reading of Larry Cordle and Larry Shell’s “My First Mistake,” Three Kinds Of Lonesome puts Missy and her band squarely in the finest of bluegrass traditions—comfortably rooted in the music’s past, yet vibrantly modern. Whether she’s matching voices with Chris Jones on a country-flavored duet, serving up a wistful, traditional-sounding ballad like Zbynek Bures’s “Leaves In The Wind,” tearing it up on the blistering “If I Fall,” paying homage to her influences on the project’s two bonus tracks, or turning bluesy on the Mark Simos-penned title track, Missy’s a singer who finds just the right way to bring out the essence of each song.
No wonder, then, that the Missy Werner Band was chosen for a coveted slot on award-winning WAMU BluegrassCountry’s live broadcasts from this year’s IBMA World of Bluegrass alongside major artists like the Gibson Brothers, Dailey & Vincent and the Boxcars—or that, as soon as Three Kinds Of Lonesome was made available to broadcasters on the popular AirplayDirect service, it became one of the most downloaded bluegrass albums of the month.
One of the brightest stars of the historically vital Cincinnati area bluegrass scene, Missy Werner’s already earned the loyalty of local fans, and the respect of her bluegrass colleagues across the country and around the world. With the release of Three Kinds Of Lonesome, she’s now set the stage for a much bigger audience to hear—and enjoy—one of the strongest talents to emerge from the region in a long, long time.