Tag Archives: Bluegrass music

Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard’s Sing Me Back Home: The DC Tapes, 1965-1969

The first time I listened to this CD with headphones, I nearly fell out of my chair when the second track, “Tell Me That You Love Me” began. I don’t believe I’d ever heard this old song before, although perhaps … Continue reading

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Various artists’ Epilogue: A Tribute to John Duffey

You can always trust Smithsonian Folkways to do up a package of music the right way. That definitely applies to this standout tribute to one of the fathers of contemporary bluegrass, John Duffey. Duffey was a founding member of both … Continue reading

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John Lawless’ Five & Dime

I was shocked when, after listening to Five & Dime a couple of times, I discovered that it’s banjo player John Lawless’ first recording. It’s that good. Lawless, an editor at Bluegrass Today, has been playing regionally out of Roanoak, … Continue reading

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Billy Strings’ Turmoil & Tinfoil

If you love acoustic guitar playing, or if you love bluegrass music — or both — you have to check out the duet that Billy Strings plays with Bryan Sutton on a traditional tune called “Salty Sheep,” on Billy’s new … Continue reading

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John Reischman and The Jaybirds’ On That Other Green Shore

If you want solid, no-nonsense bluegrass music these days, you won’t go wrong with any release by John Reischman and The Jaybirds. Their latest release On That Other Green Shore is no exception. That’s no accident, of course. One of … Continue reading

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Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge’s Mount Royal

I’m still wringing major bits of pleasure out of last year’s electric Julian Lage Trio release Arclight, when here comes this splendid acoustic offering from Lage and Chris Eldridge. Mount Royal is the second full-length by this duo, following Avalon … Continue reading

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Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands’ The Hazel and Alice Sessions

The influence of Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard continues to reverberate in bluegrass and Americana music. The two became pioneer women in the male-dominated world of bluegrass music in the 1960s, leaving their mark on generations of musicians and singers … Continue reading

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Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms’ Innocent Road

When you listen to an album and you can’t tell which are originals and which are classic country covers, that’s a good sign. I was pretty sure that the opening track of Innocent Road by Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms … Continue reading

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3hattrio’s Solitaire

Hard on the heels of 2015’s eyebrow-raising Dark Desert Night comes 3hattrio’s third full-length release Solitaire. It’s named for Desert Solitaire, the classic 1968 book about dryland ecosystems by Edward Abbey. This stringband trio from the red-rock desert of southern … Continue reading

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Joe K. Walsh’s Borderland

Creating new music from old traditions is the hallmark of roots music anywhere in the world. And it’s what Joe K. Walsh does on his debut solo album Borderland. This mandolinist, songwriter and singer has been active in the Americana … Continue reading

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John McEuen’s Made in Brooklyn

Banjo player John McEuen is one of the unheralded giants of American roots music. He was a founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, one of the first to blend rock and country in a new way that didn’t … Continue reading

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John McEuen’s Made in Brooklyn previewed

You and I would probably never think of playing Warren Zevon’s “Excitable Boy” as a bluegrass song. That’s why someone like John McEuen, who did think of it, has had a 50-year career as a groundbreaking roots musician, and you … Continue reading

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Richard D. Smith’s Bluegrass: An Informal Guide 

Brendan Foreman penned this review. Bluegrass music really lives a strange existence within the world of American music. Its form is too stylized and polished to classify it properly as a “folk music.” After all, the big bluegrass events of the … Continue reading

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Alison Krauss and Union Station’s Live 

Peter Hund penned this review. This is a natural time for Krauss and the boys to put out their first live album. After 15 years of paying her dues (five group albums, three solo releases and a collaboration with the Cox … Continue reading

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Dolly Parton’s Little Sparrow 

In the collection of “chick flicks” TBS broadcast on Super Bowl Sunday, one film stood out. It was slightly older, a little bit wiser, and offered charming performances by Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Julia Roberts and a virtually unrecognizable Daryl … Continue reading

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Great Northern’s Low Lonesome 

Great Northern came to my attention through their stellar instrumentals — heard one day on the CBC radio, causing me to beg our benevolent editor, Cat, to write away for their album. I absolutely love the way that the cello … Continue reading

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Chris Thile’s Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Chris Thile’s music is intricate and full of ideas. He is clearly very creative with melody and has been fortunate to surround himself with great players (whoever they are). Unfortunately, this advance copy of Wander, due to be released this month, … Continue reading

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Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys’ The Complete Jessup Recordings Plus! Featuring Ricky Skaggs & Keith Whitley

What a treat this collection is. Real Gone Music has re-released on two CDs three obscure LPs from the early 1970s when Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs first joined Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys. The titles originally were … Continue reading

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Kathy Kallick Band’s Foxhounds

Bluegrass doesn’t get more solid than the music on this, Kathy Kallick’s 20th album. Kallick herself is an institution in bluegrass, not only through her work with this band but as a founding member of the Good Ol’ Persons, plus … Continue reading

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Laurie Lewis & Kathy Kallick’s Laurie & Kathy Sing the Songs of Vern & Ray

Laurie Lewis has been leaning more toward contemporary folk music lately, as witnessed in her 2013 live recording One Night in May. So I was probably expecting something along those lines when I hit “play” on this new disc. Imagine … Continue reading

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Doc Watson and Frosty Morn’s Round the Table Again

Doc Watson is indeed “a legend,” as he is introduced at the beginning of this live disc. With its second live Watson release in as many years, Sugar Hill has bookended the extraordinary career of this blind guitarist and singer … Continue reading

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Various Artists’ O Sister!

If mainstream country music was dominated by men in its early years, the same was doubly true of bluegrass. With a few exceptions, bluegrass has been largely a men’s genre for much of its history. But women have always been … Continue reading

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