Where do we begin? He’s widely hailed as the “dobro king.” He’s won nine “Academy of Country Music Awards”, several “Dobro Player Of The Year Awards,” and six “Grammys.” Besides gracing albums by artists such as, Bruce Hornsby, Dolly Parton, and many others, Jerry Douglas has also recorded with avant/jazz-based guitar hero, Bill Frisell.
Lately, the artist has been performing and touring with Alison Krauss’ popular “Union Station” band. However, with this release, Douglas crosses genres by tackling Duane Allman’s delightful “Little Martha,” coupled with a jazz-drenched and altogether climactic spin on Frisell’s “Lookout For Hope.” But there’s more, as Douglas and his band-mates engage in a few steaming hybrid jazz-bluegrass workouts, awash with polytonal characteristics and blazingly fast exchanges. Many of these pieces feature Douglas performing with guitarists, mandolinists and fiddlers, whereas pop crooner James Taylor provides his customary heartwarming choruses to the final track, “The Suit.” Meanwhile it’s Douglas’ silvery tone, impeccable timing and intricately articulated picking and slide work that sets him apart from most of his peers. There’s not one uninspiring or languid moment to be found, thanks to an abundance of engagingly memorable works that offer a variegated musical outlook. They cover a gamut of bluegrass-induced motifs, interjected with harmonious overtones and jazz tinged improvisations. While saxophonist Jeff Coffin provides a soulful touch and Douglas makes his dobro, weep and croon amid harmonious choruses on the dirge like ballad, “The Sinking Ship.” Nonetheless, this outing should enjoy widespread appeal, regardless of alleged or predetermined categorizations. A phenomenal effort it is!!! Feverishly recommended.