Cross Ties
What's New?
We'd like to take just a second and update everyone with some of our latest happenings...

We have been in the studio over the last couple months and are now in the process of mixing our latest project. This CD (our 3rd as The Cross Ties Band) has some of our latest Gospel material, as well as a few of our more requested secular songs. We anticipate that this CD will be available by mid or late spring.

Also, we are making plans to travel again to Germany in June of this year.

Thank you for checking out our website - we hope to see you soon.
Welcome to Our New Website !
Many of you have asked us about it and it’s finally here!   We would like to especially thank René and Lisa at Alexander Media for all their work in helping us to put together what we hope you will find a very neat and informative website.  On these pages are probably more than you ever wanted to know about The Cross Ties Band!  Please tell us what you think – we’d love to hear from you!  We sincerely hope you enjoy the site and we look forward to seeing you in the near future.
Cross Ties
Info on "Wonderful Over There" CD
The second recording by Cross Ties, "Wonderful Over There", was released in May of 2005.  As with "Makin' Tracks", this CD gives a taste of the wide variety of The Cross Ties Band's musical influences - from Jon Ellis' original, "Where Will You Be?" to the Celtic-style "Joy of My Life".  Also, not to mention Randy Ellis' soulful harmonica on "Life's Railway to Heaven".

It was the pleasure of Cross Ties to name the CD after "It Will Be Wonderful Over There", a song penned by Georgia Gospel Music Hall of Fame composer, Mildred S. Johnson, at the age of 95, written especially with Cross Ties in mind.  For a look at the CD cover, click here.

Info on "Makin' Tracks" CD
Released in December, 2004, "Makin' Tracks" is the debut recording project of the group under the Cross Ties name.  The CD includes a wide spectrum of acoustic music from old-time to á cappella spirituals, hard-driving bluegrass to Sacred Harp, and even a couple of Bob Dylan songs... "Forever Young" accompanied with the Irish bouzouki, and the comedic "Man Gave Names to the Animals".  (See how many animal sounds you can recognize...  All made by the band members!)

Click here for pictures of the CD.

Info on "Original Sacred Harp" CD
"Original Sacred Harp" is an all á cappella recording of songs from The Sacred Harp song book, which was originally published in 1844.  This CD was originally recorded with 15 songs by "The Universal Pickers" and released on cassette tape in 1993.  It has been re-released on CD by Cross Ties, the successor band, which includes three of the original members of The Universal Pickers.

In addition to the original 15 songs recorded, the CD includes 3 bonus tracks of Sacred Harp songs from other recording projects of Cross Ties.  The first 16 songs on the CD are recorded in the style of a traditional class singing, i.e., singing of the shaped notes first, then the words.  The final songs on the CD include musical preludes in addition to the á cappella vocals.  Click here for pictures of the CD (front, back, and inside).

See the referenced review of this recording from the Wisconsin Shape-Note News below.

A copy of this recording is on file at the Library of Congress.  It is also referenced in the Sacred Harp Resource Guide.

Review in Wisc Shape-Note News

Volume 6, Number 1 - January/February 1994
James P. Page - Editor
Madison, WI

(Reprinted with permission)

New Recording

While at the Holly Springs two-day singing this June (1993) I had the chance to pick up a new Sacred Harp recording. Surprisingly, it is not a live recording of an all-day singing. It is called the "Original Sacred Harp" and it is performed and put out by The Universal Pickers (now known as Cross Ties).

My understanding is that The Universal Pickers is a north Georgia old timey/bluegrass band, but that is not apparent on this recording. They are four young men who were taught to sing Sacred Harp by Hugh McGraw. They recorded 15 Sacred Harp tunes, while in a hollow square, singing the pitches and shapes, in Antioch Baptist Church, Buncombe, GA. Using a 4-track recorder, they multilayered a 16-voice sound on the traditional arrangements and styles of these songs. The arrangements are true to the tradition and spirit of shape note.

The big advantage of this recording is the clarity and separateness of the sound. It is one of the best recordings I've heard for picking out individual parts, something useful to those of us still learning. This recording doesn't possess the rowdy passion of many of the live recordings. It also doesn't have the polish or slickness of Sacred Harp sung by pros or classical singers. Instead, it does a good job of retaining the spirit and flavor of the true Sacred Harp, while imposing a little bit of restraint and control on the finished product (restraint and control not being particular strongpoints of the Sacred Harpers I've run across).

-- Bill Waddington Minneapolis, MN
Info on "Cookin' at Burnt Hickory"
"Cookin' at Burnt Hickory" is a live recording of the predecessor band, The Universal Pickers, in concert at Burnt Hickory Baptist Church, Marietta, Georgia in April, 1997.

The recording reflects an energy which is difficult to capture in a studio setting.

Now available only on cassette.

Info on "Soldiers" Recording
Recorded in 1994. In addition to the bluegrass style, this project features several songs with a more contemporary sound. The title song of the project was written and sung by former band member, David Milford. The project also includes two songs written by former band member, Rick McKee.

Info on "Early Picks" Recording
"Early Picks" is a compilation of the The Universal Pickers' (predecessor band of Cross Ties) first two projects: "Glory Train", recorded in 1990; and "Headed for that City", 1989.

The project contains a good mix of bluegrass gospel and á cappella spirituals from the guys' younger days. (Three of the current Cross Ties Band members are on this recording.)

Fiddler David Morris provides a great rendition of the Bill Monroe classic instrumental, "Jerusalem Ridge", on this project.

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