The concept of “high fidelity” is about precision in sound, but for one Virginia-based bluegrass outfit, it also may be about precision of soul.
For these bluegrass traditionalists, music is partly a way of expressing personal beliefs. As words of Thanksgiving, members of the band High Fidelity express gratitude for what they see as higher guidance.
“One of the main things that pulled us together is the SPBGMA band contest,” explained High Fidelity fiddler and harmony vocalist Corrina Rose Logston. “We wanted to perform the bluegrass music near and dear to our hearts. In the beginning, we just wanted to bring our brand of bluegrass to audiences and hope they would love it, too.”
In their case, that music harkened back to tunes of the 1950s and 1960s. Jim and Jesse. The Stanley Brothers. Charlie Monroe.
“We won that [SPBGMA] contest in 2014 and had no idea how things would unfold for us,” Logston said. “When we won it, it felt so miraculous…and we wanted to give the Lord the glory. She added, “We never take that for granted…it always seems like a calling. For us, it’s a really personal and visceral experience…it feels like divine interaction.”
Logston’s husband – High Fidelity guitarist and lead vocalist Jeremy Stephens – sees it exactly the same way. After the win in 2014, he said they didn’t have to seek out gigs. Booking agents and record labels reached out first.
“They called us,” Stephens recalled. “It’s direct guidance that’s…apart from us.”
After what the couple describes as somewhat of a struggle to bring the record to market, High Fidelity released a new album – Music in My Soul – in September. The CD release party was held at The Well Coffeehouse on Nashville’s Music Row, located in the Koinonia bookstore. Logston and Reynolds say they chose it because the venue has close ties to Nashville’s Belmont Church, where well-known artists such as Amy Grant got their start.
“We’re very excited,” Stephens said. “It’s 14 tracks. In High Fidelity, we have never recorded any new original music until this record. We are known for sourcing and recording obscure songs from an earlier time.” For instance, the record’s first single release – “The Mighty Name of Jesus” – was penned by Logston.
She detailed the difficulties in bringing the project together. Their last had been the 2020 release of Banjo Player’s Blues, and as with their other albums, the process had been easier. Due to the life circumstances of band members, however, Music in My Soul took much longer – and much more effort – to complete. Now that it’s done, however, they see the finished product as a kind of triumph over adversity, making them both thankful and proud.
“The whole thing feels like a project of being able to overcome,” Logston said. “For almost ten years, we’ve been wanting to do this record.”
With band members on the road performing more often now, time and distance limitations were tighter. She said this made it harder to schedule rehearsal and studio time. They recorded it last fall, and it was finally released in September.
“It’s totally different than any of our other records,” Logston said. “Jeremy and I…we did a good bit of the engineering on this record.”
This musical couple is joined in High Fidelity by Kurt Stephenson (banjo and vocals), Vickie Vaughn (upright bass and vocals), and Daniel Amick (multi-instrumentalist and vocalist).
They’ve got a tour scheduled for next year, but for now, they will enjoy the slowed-down season of the holidays. There’s a gig Stephens is looking forward to on November 18 at the Olde Dominion Agricultural Complex in Chatham, Virginia, which he referred to as his “hometown area.”
With the new record, High Fidelity shows true fidelity to the band’s origins and intent of showcasing 1950s and 1960s styles. However, they’re doing it for the first time with some new originals. It’s a change of pace but isn’t so far afield that fans won’t recognize it.
“That direction still guides our musical sound,” Logston said, “and gives us boundaries to keep High Fidelity a consistent thing. I feel like this is probably the best record we’ve done so far." She added, “It’s the strongest High Fidelity.”