Donna Ulisse: Hard Cry Moon

Though not touted as a concept album, bluegrass singer-songwriter Donna Ulisse’s latest gem, Hard Cry Moon, could pass for one. Start with the hard-charging album opener, “Black Train,” fiddle- and banjo-fired with a red-hot mandolin solo courtesy of Casey Campbell, wherein Ulisse adopts a biting attack to underscore her narrator’s determined flight from a failed relationship to a fresh start. Ten songs later she winds up at “Whispering Pines” (a non-Ulisse copyright, being from the pen of Howard Hausey), a tender mountain ballad extolling the natural world’s power to heal a broken heart made doubly aching by the plaintive cry …