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CD Reviews


Jerry Garcia, David Grisman,Tony Rice
"The Pizza Tapes"


Appetizer, Man of Consatnt Sorrow, Appetizer, Louis Collins, Shady Grove, Always Late, Guitar Space, Summertime, Appetizer, Long Black Veil, Rosalee McFall, Appetizer, Drifting Too Far From The Shore, Amazing Grace, Little Sadie, Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Space Jam, So What, Appetizer, House of The Rising Sun.

The Pizza Tapes chronicles the one and only recording session between Tony Rice and Jerry Garcia along with David Grisman who brought these two guitar legends together in February of 1993. The results are exciting to say the least. The admiration between Tony and Jerry highlight this wonderful set of acoustic standards and fabulous guitar jamming.
The story goes, that a pizza delivery boy swiped the cassette mixes from Garcia's kitchen counter and the rest is history as the set became one of the most bootlegged recordings of all time. I must admit that I, myself obtained a bootleg copy of this session years ago, but the sound quality was less than desirable after generation after generation of dubbing. Now through the magic of digital art, David Grisman gives us the Real Deal!
All of the vocal tracks found on this set are from Garcia with Tony doing much what he's been forced to do today and that is speak through his guitar, and what you get is one of the most exciting performances I ever heard from Tony Rice, all impromptu. I believe the sheer presence of Jerry Garcia was enough to inspire Tony to excellence. You hear shades of Grateful Dead style guitar jamming coupled with Tony's trademark jazz-grass styling, fused together for something truly amazing. Not to take anything away from David Grisman, but his mandolin pickin' here is secondary, because this is truly a guitar project. I hestitate picking out any favorites because the highlights are just too numerous, but the instrumentals like Summertime and So What really showcase these two guitar greats and really strike a chord with this reviewer. The banter between the three throughout the set, simply titled, Appetizers, is worth the price of the CD alone. There is a hidden track at the end in which the three discuss Clarence White's guitar and the tone Tony achieves with it compared to Clarence, and Tony says, "Hey Garcia, you ought to play this Mother #@#$%"! and hands the guitar to Jerry for some hot riffs. Priceless! A Wooville 5-Star Recording. NH


Mark Newton
"Follow Me Back To The Fold"


We Can't Go Wrong, Used To Be, A Child Again, Candle Of Love, If It Ain't Love (Let's Leave It Alone), High Lonesome, Pain Of Loving You, Voice Of My Savior, My Darling, Never Looking Back, The Day That Lester Died, On The Lonesome Wind, Follow Me Back To The Fold.

Follow Me Back To The Fold is Mark Newton's tribute to the Women of Bluegrass. Joining Mark on this spectacular recording are some of the finest female bluegrass singers of our time, along with a cast of some of the best pickers in the business. The core band consist of Missy Raines on bass, Tony Rice-guitar, Kristen Scott-banjo, Alan Bibey-mandolin, Ronnie Stewart-fiddle, Fred Travers-dobro, and a host of others with variations throughout. The picking found here is nothing short of superb as you would expect, but it's the vocal magic that really brings this project to life. There are some truly outstanding vocals performances found here like the opening track where Mark is joined by Rhonda Vincent in an up-tempo bluegrass number We Can't Go Wrong penned by Russell Johnson, Tim Woodall, Greg Miller, and seemingly tailor-made for Ms. Vincent. Dale Ann Bradley turns in a fine performance on Monroe's, Used To Be. One of My favorite tracks here is Billy and Terry Smith's A Child Again with Kathy Chiavola. A real beauty! Lynn Morris and Claire Lynch both show up a couple of times each and make their presence felt. Claire Lynch penned The Day That Lester Died; one of the finest songs on this set that places a timeline on both Claire and Mark's carreers. I found the strongest vocal performance to be High Lonesome where Mark is joined by Kim and Barb Fox. It's Chilling! Gena Britt, Valerie Smith, The Whites and Gloria Belle all lend their wonderful talents to round out this excellent project.
Mark Newton released his first solo project in 1998, Living A Dream in which he brought together many of his bluegrass idols and with Follow Me Back To The Fold it seems the dream continues. Highly Recommended! NH

Rhonda Vincent
"Back Home Again"

Rounder 11661-0460-2

Lonesome Wind Blues, Pretending I Don't Care, When I Close My Eyes, You're In My Heart, Little Angels, Passing The Train, Out Of Hand, Jolene, You Don't Know How Lucky You Are, Keep Your Feet On The Ground, You're Runnung Wild, Where No Cabins Fall.

Rhonda Vincent's latest project Back Home Again is exactly what the title suggests, a return to her bluegrass roots. Rhonda, for some years besides performing with her family The Sally Mountain Show based in Missouri; branched out with an attempt at the Nashville scene. Never quite achieving the notoriety that she truly deserved, her country music career never took off. But fear not, for Rhonda is Back Home Again right where she belongs. With this project, Rhonda establishes herself as one of the top female bluegrass artist in the business. This recording is pure beauty from start to finish, and if you haven't had the opportunity to catch Rhonda with her band, The Rage then you're missing out at seeing one of the hottest acts on the bluegrass circuit today. With Steve Sutton on 5-string banjo, who spent some time with Jimmy Martin, Randy Barnes, who honed his talents with Lou Reid and Carolina, and singer/songwriter, Keith Tew, who has written songs recorded by some of todays top bluegrass acts. Also with the addition of the newest member of The Rage fiddle prodigy Michael Cleveland, you've got a band whose talents exceed anyones wildest imagination of what makes a great bluegrass band. Now back to Rhonda. For the last few year besides pursuing her own career, Rhonda has provided backing vocals for most notably, Dolly Parton. I don't know if Rhonda had any influence on Dolly's direction towards bluegrass music or not, but the similarity of Dolly's latest project The Grass is Blue and Rhonda's Back Home Again is staggering. Rhonda even delivers a stellar performance with Dolly's Jolene on this project. Other standout songs found her and proof positive of Rhonda's vocal prowess, are Jimmy Martin/Paul Williams's Pretending I Don't Care and a song once recorded by The Osborne Brothers You're Running Wild. Rhonda has a way of delivering a vocal performance that is powerful yet beautiful all the same. One of my personal favorites on this project is The Louvin Brother's Out of Hand in which Rhonda duets with her father, Johnny Vincent, whom she credits with giving her this wonderful life of music, and I for one am glad he did. Don't hestitate, PICK THIS ONE UP. You'll be glad you did.NH

Kruger Brothers
"Carolina Scrapbook"

Double Time dtm-009

Kissimmee Kid, If I Had A Sweetheart, Old Bill Johnson, And The Band Played Waltzing Matilida, Wind In The Wheat, Wild Rose Of The Mountain, When You Go Walking After Midnight, Chain Hoist, Coon Dog, Will You Be Loving Another Man, Devil To Pay, Take Me Back To Carolina, Molly, Bonaparte's Retreat, Keep My Skillet Good And Greasy, There's A Light In The Window, Little Maggie, Steven's Steel, If The Sun Don't Shine Tomorrow, Down Yonder, Just A Little Lovin', Kentucky Waltz, More Pretty Girls Than One, Over There, Homestead On The Farm, Twin Sisters, Dangerous, OBS, Tootie and The Crawfish, Bill Monroe's Shoes, Doin' My Time, Moonshine Joke, Cabbage Head Story, Three Nights In A Bar Room, Foggy Mountain Special, Mantragrass, RockyTop Opera, Opera Excerpts, Tut's Little Town, Shuckin' The Corn, Stories, Be Careful, Harold's Restaurant Radio Spot, Wild Rose Of The Mountain Story, The Coon Is Hot, Concentration For Party, Hot Corn-Cold Corn, Over There Story, Playing Banjo On Red Apple Rag, Pete Seger Story, Band Saw Excerpts, Tumbling Tumbleweed.

Switzerland's Kruger Brothers, Jens and Uwe and bassman, Joel met up with some friends in the hills of North Carolina, recorded some music in a garage, snapped a bunch of pictures, and had yet another taste of Americana. The results were Fantastic! 1999 made 3 years running that the Kruger's made the journey to the hills of North Carolina, mainly Wilkes County and MerleFest, the home of Doc Watson. The friendships that were forged on those visits help make up this musical Carolina Scrapbook. Several of these friends were local legends, many with close ties to Doc Watson. Folks like Clint Howard, Wayne Henderson, and SI Kahn, all have crossed the MerleFest stage numerous times, and there's Maynard Holbrook and Jim Brooks, local boys that know all about traditional country/folk music, North Carolina style. Fiddle prodigy, 18 year old, Michael Cleveland sparkles with The Kruger's. Just one listen to Kissimmee Kid and you'll see what I mean. Chesapeakes, Moondi Klein joins in on the fun as does dobro legend and documented #1 Krugers fan, Tut Taylor.
This 3-CD set is some of the finest bluegrass and traditional country/folk music you're likely to hear anywhere. The boys from The Alps meet Appalachia and create some magic, and there's alot of magic moments to be found here, from the opening track with Michael Cleveland to the last cut, Tumbling Tumbleweed, and everything in between. Disk 3 is pure fun with stories from Tut, Clint and SI and some super charged pickin'. Attendees of MerleFest will particularly enjoy the story behind The Coon is Hot, a real knee-slapper! The core of the pickin' found on this set is The Kruger's with Michael and Tut adding accent to awesome and if you've ever heard Jens pick the 5 string banjo, you'll know just what I'm talking about.
I really can't say enough about what an excellent project Carolina Scrapbook is with sparkling moments throughout. It has quickly become one of my favorites and I'm sure it will be a Wooville favorite also. Oh!Did I happen to mention that The Kruger's will be returning to the Festival of The Bluegrass in 2000. Yee-Haw!!!NH

Dolly Parton
"The Grass is Blue"

Travelin' Prayer, Cash On The Barrelhead, A Few Old Memories, I'm Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open, Steady As The Rain, I Still Miss Someone, Endless Stream Of Tears, Silver Dagger, Train Train, I Wonder Where You Are Tonight, Will He Be Waiting For Me, The Grass Is Blue, I Am Ready.

The Grass is Blue could well be one of the most important bluegrass recordings to be released in the past decade and beyond. Dolly Parton attracts fans and in a time that bluegrass music is thriving, this is just icing on the cake. Early 1999 saw the release of The Mountain, a bluegrass collaboration between Steve Earle and The Del McCoury Band, which attracted many new fans to bluegrass, and with this project you're likely to see the same, yet on a much larger scale. It doesn't hurt that this is a Fantastic recording with a cream of the crop cast, led by one of the sweetest mountain voices of our time. I've long been a fan of Dolly's but must admit that, of late, not much of her material has held much appeal for me, mainly because I listen to very little country music coming out of Nashville today. With the release of this project, all that has changed, if only for a short time. Dolly has enlisted the help of the finest bluegrass musicians to be found, anywhere with Superpickers Jerry Douglas on dobro, Sam Bush-mandolin, Stuart Duncan-fiddle, and from Ricky Skagg's band comes banjo wizard, Jim Mills and former Kentucky Thunder guitar master, Bryon Sutton. Alison Krauss's bassman, Barry Bales holds it all together and along with his Union Station bandmates, Alison Krauss and Dan Tyminski, with Patty Loveless, Claire Lynch, Rhonda and Darrin Vincent, Alan O'Bryant and Keith Little, you've got the best harmony vocals one could ever wish for. Just can't miss! The material chosen for this project is as fine as the pickers, with 5 of the 13 tracks coming from Ms. Parton herself and also drawing from gifted songwritters like Hazel Dickens, Ira and Charlie Louvin, Johnny Cash, Lester Flatt and more. A real gem found here is Silver Dagger (a tune I long associated with Joan Baez), in which Dolly provides her own harmony vocals. It leaves you breathless! Johnny Bond's I Wonder Where You Are Tonight will please even the most discriminating bluegrass music fan, while Hazel Dicken's A Few Old Memories, a song made popular in bluegrass circles by James King, will have you asking yourself why it's taken so long for Dolly to take a stab at bluegrass. It's real easy to picture Dolly performong Lester Flatt's I'm Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open, which is not far removed from novelty songs she's recorded in the past. With Train,Train Dolly achieves much the same as Monroe did with Jimmie Rodger's Muleskinner Blues in blending hard drivin' bluegrass and blues, and with her excellant originals to piece it all together, you get a sound that is all Dolly Parton. With The Grass is Blue Dolly has painted her masterpiece!*****Dolly On-LineNH

IIIrd Tyme Out
"John and Mary"

Rounder 11661-0463-2
John and Mary, Rose of My Heart, Lovin' You, Goin' Blind, Cold Summer Day in Georgia, Milk Cow Blues, Snow Angel, Blue Ridge Mountain Memories, I'll Pray My Way Out Of Trouble, Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Another Evening Alone, Just Call On Him, Coal Mine Blues, Bobbie and Millie, On the Lonely Side of Town.

For those who have yearned for new music from IIIrd Tyme Out; It has arrived! Their last offering, Live At The Mac, although a fine live recording, offered little in the way of new material. With John and Mary you get 14 tracks that equal any that have come before. The songs found here are a mix of bluegrass, blues, ballads and gospel that are sure to please even the most discriminating bluegrass music fan. The addition of guest, Rob Ikes on dobro, accents the already outstanding musical talents found here, and the vocals are just what you'd expect from the multi-award winning vocal group of the year, OUTSTANDING! There are several standouts found on this set, and I predict much airplay for many of them. The title cut John and Mary, co-penned by Wayne Benson/Russell Moore, is a bouncy, mandolin driven tune that celebrates love and life. Sure to see much airplay is Snow Angel penned by Billy and Terry Smith in which Russell and Wayne trade off on lead vocals, almost effortlessly. Another fun song found her is Milk Cow Blues which blend blues and western swing. And no one can deliver a more beautiful gospel performance than IIIrd Tyme Out, which is evident with Lorreta Lynn's I Prayed My Way Out Of Trouble.
IIIrd Tyme Out has proven themselves to be one of the premier bluegrass bands on the circuit today and with this release they've raised the bar yet another rung higher. This recording was well worth the wait. Highly Recommended! NH

The Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show

Don't Let Your Deal Go Down, The Love We Have Will Never Die, I Don't Care Anymore, Walkin' In The Big Country, Where The Smoke Goes Up (and the money goes down), I Know What It Means To Be Lonesome, When The Angels Carry Me Home, The Girl I Love Don't Pay Me No Mind, Delbert's Breakdown, The One I Love Is Gone, It's You Baby You, Gonna Have Myself A Ball, The Trail Of The Ancients.

If your bluegrass taste leans towards the pioneers, Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, than you're sure to want to pick up this project from Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show. Karl takes you back to a time when bluegrass ruled, and does it in such an authentic style, that you'll think he stepped out of the pages of time. Karl's vocal style is much like that of Lester Flatt's, which lends to the Flatt and Scrugggs sound that he and his band achieve. Much of the material found here comes from the repertoire of the masters, Bill and Charlie Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, and some from Monroe Fields, who at one time, worked with Flatt and Scruggs. Also found on this set are some orginal tunes that fit the classic bluegrass sound, perfectly. For Karl's live shows he employes the one-mike setup and stage attire that will have you thinking you just stepped into the twilight zone. The players here are absolutely top shelf w/ Kirk Brandenberger on fiddle, Jake Jenkins on 5 string banjo, Kris Shiflett on bass, Lyle Meador, on mandolin, while Karl handle's the guitar work. I was lucky enough to see Big Country Show, at this years Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival and witness first hand what Karl is all about, and that is to perserve classic bluegrass. After one listen to this project you'll see that he has achieved this very well. A real standout here is "The Girl I Love Don't Pay Me No Mind", a tune that Flatt and Scruggs used to perform, yet never recorded. Another really fine tune is a song Bill Monroe gave to Karl at Bean Blossom 95, "The One I Love Is Gone". This is just a truly fun recording that has you yearning for more classic bluegrass. NH

Dudley Connell and Don Rigsby
"Meet Me By The Moonlight"

Meet Me By The Moonlight, Orphan Girl, I'm Troubled,I'm Troubled, Oh Lovin'Babe, Jealous Lover, Good-bye Maggie, Short Life Of Trouble, Dark and Thorny, Rollin' On, Dying Boy's Prayer, Our Darlin's Gone, Old Ship Of Zion.

Dudley Connell and Don Rigsby have long been two of my favorite bluegrass singers. While I am a huge fan of The Seldom Scene and the Lonesome River Band (Dudley's and Don's primary gigs, respectfully) it is the vocal performances that they've turned out with supergroup Longview, that has touched me the most. With this project you get a collection of gems much like those found on the two Longview recordings. The songs are made up of material that hasn't been done and redone over the years and though vintage they come across as being new and fresh. I would venture a guess that much of this material found here surfaced while gathering material for the Longview projects. You won't find quite the production on this set as you did with Longview, yet it would fit perfectly as a Longview companion disk. This is a collection of wonderful country and bluegrass duets, as with the title song Meet Me By The Moonlight, as well as Jealous Lover, Good-bye Maggie, and Short Life Of Trouble. Don Rigsby turns out another fantastic a cappella performance with the spiritial, Old Ship Of Zion, while Don and Dudley team up on another a cappella number with Dark and Thorny. Also, Dudley solo performance on the haunting Oh Lovin' Babe is chilling to say the least.
On hand to make this project complete is the excellent bass work of Seldom Scene's, Ronnie Simpkins and the masterful fiddle work of Aubrey Haynie to accent the fine guitar and mandolin work of Dudley Connell and Don Rigsby. If there is a downside to this project, it is Sugar Hill Records absence of liner notes. Someone surely did a lot of work uncovering some of these old gems and it would have been nice to discover their orgins. That aside, this is a wonderful recording and a must have for any bluegrass music fan. NH

Dirk Powell-Tim O'Brien-John Herrmann
"Songs From The Mountain"

Howdy Skies Records HS-1001
Mountain Aire/Washington's March/Bonaparte's Retreat, Cluck Old Hen, Raleigh and Spencer, The Blackest Crow, Stobrod's Tune, When I Die I'll Live Again, The Drunkard's Hiccups(jack of diamonds), Backstep Cindy, Wayfarin' Stranger, Skillet Good and Greasy, Mole in the Ground, Claire Dechutes, Cherokee Trail/Glory in the Meeting House, Bow Down, Lonesome John, Fair Margaret and Sweet William, Hard Times, Angel Band.

Songs from the Mountain is a collection of old-time fiddle and banjo tunes that set the tone of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain, a novel set in the Appalachain Mountains, during the last years of the Civil War. Most of the tunes found here are tradtional with Irish and Scotish orgins, while there are a handful of orginal songs from Powell, O'Brien and Herrmann inspired by the novel itself. One of the main characters in the book, Stobrod, is a fiddle player, and many of these tunes surface through him and his half-witted banjo pickin' companion. Powell, O'Brien, and Herrmann treat these tunes with an authenticity that creates a backdrop for the period. As I read the book, I found myself stacking up other old-time recordings to help set the mood for this intriguing tale of love, hardship and pain, that was brought on by the Civil War. Fans of old-time music will find this collection to be a real gem and with the presence of Tim O'Brien, old-time music will likely find some new fans. This project comes packaged either as the CD alone or paired with the book itself. I found the bundled set at a Border's Books and Music for a mere $18.00. A bargin by any standards. NH

Steve Earle and The Del McCoury Band
"The Mountain"

E-Squared 1064-2
Texas Eagle, Yours Forever Blue, Carrie Brown, I'm Still In Love With You, The Graveyard Shift, Harlan Man, The Mountain, Outlaw's Honeymoon, Connemara Breakdown, Leroy's Dustbowl Blues, Dixieland, Paddy on the Beat, Long, Lonesome Highway Blues, Pilgrim.

I've heard Steve Earle's music described in many ways, country, country rock, country pop, americana (which I believe fits best), and rock, which is where I finally found this one in my local Wal-Mart's CD bin after searching for a couple of weeks in the country and bluegrass bins. But folks, make no mistake, this one is bluegrass thru and thru, right down to the songwriting, which is what Steve Earle does best. This project is loaded with songs surely to become bluegrass classic, and with the help of The Del McCoury Band, one of the best recordings of the year. I was a little unsure at first as to whether bluegrass radio would pick up on this one or not. As it turns out, bluegrass DJ's are playing the fire out of it! With it's success maybe Steve Earle will decide to stick around bluegrass for awhile. If I had to pick a favorite here, it would have to be the duet with Iris DeMent, "I'm Still In Love With You". The twin fiddles of Stuart Duncan and Jason Carter just grab you right away while the soulful and folksy voice of Ms.DeMent blending with Earle's left of mainstream vocals, just seem to fit. "The Graveyard Shift" is a straight-up bluegrass number, Big Mon would have been proud of and "Leroy's Dustbowl Blues" is shades of Dylan's "Tombstone Blues". "Long Lonesome Highway Blues" is another tune that's receiving a good deal of airplay. Folks, this project is strong from start to finish, and with pickers like The Del McCoury Band, Stuart Duncan, Gene Wooten and Jerry Douglas, how can you miss?*****NH

Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder
"Ancient Tones"

Skaggs Family Records SKFR-CD 1001
Walls of Time, Lonesome Night, How Mountain Girls Can Love, Mighty Dark To Travel, Carolina Mountain Home, Connemara, Coal Minin' Man, I Believed In You Darlin', Pig In A Pen, Give Us Rain, Boston Boy, Little Bessie.

With the release of Ancient Tones, Ricky Skagg's follow-up to 1997's award winning, Bluegrass Rules, it seems Ricky is back in bluegrass to stay, and let us all reap the benifits. This, like Bluegrass Rules, is another package of great traditional bluegrass, with most from the pen of Bill Monroe and The Stanley Brothers. There's not really much new here as far as song selection, but what is here is high energy bluegrass music, Ricky Skaggs style. A couple of tunes are worth special mention. The first is a Stanley-style ballad, "Coal Minin' Man", from the pen of Kentucky Thunder banjo picker, Jim Mills. What a perfect tune for a project that pays homage to the bluegrass pioneers. I sure hope we see more tunes like this from Mills in the future. Another is a song that has long been associated with The Stanley Brothers, "Little Bessie". With this song Ricky offers a version unlike any that I have ever heard. Ricky delivers a stirring acappella performance the first 3:20 of this 8:40 ballad, with verses most of us have never heard before, learned from a songbook of days gone by. Also found on this set, as with Bluegrass Rules, is another Ricky Skaggs penned instrumental, "Connemara", with those ancient tones of Monroe. The line-up of Kentucky Thunder is pretty much same as Bluegrass Rules, with one exception, the insertion of Jim Mills on 5-banjo. Jim came to Kentucky Thunder shortly after the recording of Bluegrass Rules, and joins regulars, Bobby Hicks, Paul Brewster, Mark Fain, Darrin Vincent, and Bryan Sutton (who has since exited for the good life of Nashville session man), rounding out what is one of the finest bluegrass bands in the business today. If Bluegrass Rules and Ancient Tones is where Ricky Skaggs and bluegrass music are headed going into the 21st century and if he is taking Monroe, The Stanleys, and Flatt and Scruggs with him, then I say Long Live Bluegrass Music. If you enjoyed Bluegrass Rules you'll have to have this one too. Highly Recommended! NH

Jerry Douglas
"Restless On The Farm"

Sugar Hill SHCD-3875
Things in Life, Turkish Taffee, Passing The Bar, Don't Take Your Guns To Town, A Tribute To Peador O'Donnell, Takarasaka, Follow On, Like It Is, The Ride, Tv Doctor, For Those Who've Gone Clear.

Jerry Douglas is hands down, the master of the resonator guitar and one of Nashville's top record producers. In his latest offering, Restless on then Farm, he leaves no doubt. As with his 1992 award winning project, Slide Rule, Jerry offers much variety and bring along some of Nashville's finest pickers to lend a helping hand. Tim O'Brien handles vocal duties on the opening track, Don Stover's, "Things in Life", the only bluegrass track found here, and I might add it's received much airplay and has rapidly moved up the bluegrass charts. Steve Earle helps out on Johnny Cash's, "Don't Take Your Guns To Town", as Jerry delivers a stunning performance on lap steel that makes you realize why he's regarded as the best. Most of the instrumentals found on this set were written by Jerry, and are not lacking in imagination to say the least. My favorite is the middle-east flavored, "Turkish Taffee", another tune with Jerry on lap steel, and the amazing Bryan Sutton on guitar. You can almost feel yourself wandering helplessly through the desert and longing for the cool shade of the wooville pines. There are a couple more vocal cuts worth mention, one being the bluesy, "TV Doctor" with a soulful performance by John Cowan. And it seems that the dobro of Jerry Douglas and the vocal beauty of Maura O'Connell just go hand and hand, as they do here on Paul Brady's "Follow On". There's much more to this project than I have mentioned with performances by Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, and the guitars of Bryan Sutton and Russ Barenberg, just to name a few, but if you're a "Flux" fan like myself, I'm sure you'll soon find out for yourself. A Wooville Pick Hit! NH

J.D. Crowe and The New South
"Come On Down To My World"

Rounder 11661-0422-2
Back To The Barrooms, Come on Down To My World, Come Back Sweetheart, I'm So Afraid Of Losing You Again, J's Tune, I Don't Know, Grandpa's Shoes, You Didn't Say Goodbye, Careless Love, My Blue Eyes You Left In Tennessee, White Freightliner, I'm Goin' That Way.

J.D. Crowe is a banjo wizard who is renowned for putting together some of the best pickers and singers in the business, with the likes of Tony Rice, Larry Rice, Keith Whitley, Richard Bennett, and the list goes on and on, all doing stints with The New South. The line-up on this latest project is no exception. Handling the guitar and lead vocals on this project is singer/songwritter, Greg Luck, who has since been replaced by the very talented, Rickey Wasson. As we eagerly await the next project to showcase Rickey's talents, we'll just have to revel in the wealth of great material delivered here by Luck and his fellow bandmates. Also new to the New South since their 1994 Grammy winning release, Flashback, is mandolin picker, Dwight McCall. Dwight also handles lead and tenor vocals in a style that fits The New South as well as any of his predecessors, as is evident with the McCall penned "I Don't Know", one of this recordings' highlights. Rounding out The New South are sidemen Phil Leadbetter on resonator guitar and Curt Chapman on upright bass, who both solidify the fact that J.D. attracts only the best of the best. The title cut "Come On Down To My World" written by Larry Rice and found on The New South's 1973 debut, is another tune to showcase the stellar vocals of Dwight McCall and the trademark, New South, trio harmonies of old, is destined to become a classic all over again. There are also several cuts found here that have been drawn from the country music field and given that New South stamp, most notablely, Merle Haggard's "Back To The Barrooms" which is reminiscent of Keith Whitley's days with the New South. Also found here is a new instumental by J.D., "J's Tune", which showcases the instumental talents of all the members of The New South and shows why they are one of the hottest acts in bluegrass music today. Throw in the fiddle and twin fiddle work of guests Glen Duncan and Buddy Spicher and you've got a project that is surely to be one of the years best. Highly, Highly Recommended! NH

The Del McCoury Band
"The Family"

Ceili Music CD 2001

A Far Cry, Don't You Think It's Time To Go, The Look Of A Perfect Diamond, Backslidin' Blues, Nashville Cats, Get Down On Your Knees And Pray, Red Eyes On A Mad Dog, 50/50 Chance, City Of Stone, On The Lonesome Wind, She's Left Me Again, Cryin' Heart Blues.

The follow up to the 1996 blockbuster, Cold Hard Facts, is another winner for the Del McCoury Band. The Family, features a couple of Del McCoury classics as well as several that are destined to become so. "The Look Of A Perfect Diamond", written by Del, appeared on the 1987 McCoury Brothers project and "Get Down On Your Knees And Pray" makes it's debut on this Del McCoury album, although Del's performed this Monroe classic for years, on his live shows. Some other notables are John Sebastian's "Nashville Cats" in which Del puts his stamp on as no one else can. Del has a way with revamping tunes from other genres and turning them into Del McCoury classics, much as he did with "What's Made Milwaukee Famous" or Robert Cray's "Smoking Gun". Also worth a mention is "50/50 Chance" written by Del some 10 years ago and included on this project. Another one of those fine Ronnie McCoury instrumental also finds it's way to this project, "Red Eyes On A Mad Dog", which Del said was written in the studio during this recording, pretty much on the fly. There's no doubt that Monroe style pickin will live on as long as Ronnie McCoury is able to strap on a mandolin. This project is what we've all come to expect from the Mr. Bluegrass. Just good straight-ahead, quality bluegrass from some of the best pickers in the business. How long has it been since you've picked up a Del McCoury recording that wasn't just that? Never! Pick This One Up!! NH

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