More than 40 years after first penning the award-winning bluegrass classic, “Steel Rails,” songwriter Louisa Branscomb is releasing a new interpretation of the song. Co-produced by Branscomb and fellow Compass award-winner Missy Raines, the song will appear on Branscomb’s twelfth album, GONNA LOVE ANYWAY. The collection features a phenomenal group of singers and instrumentalists all performing their versions of Branscomb’s songs, including Tina Adair, Dale Ann Bradley, Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Stuart Duncan, Jenni Lyn Gardner, Steve Gulley, Sierra Hull, Kimber Ludiker, Bryan McDowell, Missy Raines, Molly Tuttle, Jeanette Williams, and Celia Woodsmith, as well as Branscomb herself. Co-producer Missy Raines explains, “We took a designer approach to thinking of who we felt best matched each song.” Thus listeners find singer Dave Peterson powering out a Monroe-style bluegrass traditional (“Blue Moon Blues”), veteran Claire Lynch on the plaintive, elegant “Freight Train for a Song,” and new sensation Molly Tuttle on the poignant gem of the album, “Gonna Love Anyway.”
With the new recording of “Steel Rails” being released just ahead of the 30th anniversary of Alison Krauss’s chart-topping version, Branscomb brings it all home again with this contemporary version of the timeless hit that has inspired many of the singers and players that are making a name for themselves today. One such artist, bluegrass trailblazer Molly Tuttle, says, “I heard ‘Steel Rails’ for the first time when I was a child. It is such a lovely song that always resonated with me. I was so honoured to join this amazing cast of musicians to pay tribute to Louisa’s masterful songwriting craft.”
Called the “songwriter’s songwriter,” Louisa is one of the most-lauded songwriters in acoustic music, with three International Bluegrass Association Awards, several additional nominations, two Grammy cuts (Alison Krauss and John Denver), 2014 Song of the Year (“Dear Sister,” co-written and sung by Claire Lynch), well over 200 recorded original songs by artists including Claire Lynch, Krauss, John Denver, Dale Ann Bradley, and others. Her classic “Steel Rails” is one of the longest-running charts hits in bluegrass (also a Billboard country hit), while “Dear Sister” topped charts in bluegrass, Americana, and folk. GONNA LOVE ANYWAY is a fitting tribute to Branscomb’s legacy as a pioneer in bluegrass, both as a female performer and as a songwriter advocate.
“The song (Steel Rails) that brought a whole generation into bluegrass” —Chris Jones, Bluegrass Now
“Louisa’s Steel Rails speaks through the decades and returns by all definitions,
now imbued with new artistic sensibilities.” —Steve Martin, Unrealbluegrass