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ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Sonny Landreth: Grant Street

Read "Sonny Landreth: Grant Street" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Sonny Landreth
Grant Street
Sugar Hill Records
2005

“A [man] had commenced plunking a guitar beside me while I slept...as he played, he pressed a knife on the strings of the guitar in a manner popularized by Hawaiian guitarists who used steel bars. The effect was unforgettable. His ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

BlueRidge: Side by Side

Read "Side by Side" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

The sacred and profane interface seamlessly in bluegrass music as they do in the blues. It could be argued that the only qualitative differences between bluegrass and the blues are cultural ones, African-American versus Western European. But the thematic common denominators are the same: love, loss, God, Saturday night, and Sunday morning.

BlueRidge is ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Del McCoury Band: It

Read "It" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Del McCoury is a rock star.

Bluegrass, like jazz, exists on the periphery of popular music. It possesses all of the elements that make popular music popular, melody, harmony, rhythm, beat, time, and content. Why, then, is bluegrass a fringe indulgence? I suspect that it is because this pure acoustic music never sold out to its ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Doc Watson: Trouble in Mind

Read "Trouble in Mind" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Culled from ten Vanguard and Sugar Hill recordings, Trouble in Mind is an exquisite assemblage of white rural blues by its greatest living practitioner, Arthel "Doc" Watson, the now 80-year-old flat picking savant from Deep Gap, North Carolina. Watson exists today as the only extant proponent of that link between African-American and Caucasian rural music. He ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Gibson Brothers: Bona Fide

Read "Bona Fide" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

The Gibson Brothers are not Nickel Creek. Their music is not cutting edge, andit need not be. Leigh and Eric Gibson are keepers of the flame, playing a traditional brand of bluegrass very well. Both are able singers capable of effecting the "high lonesome" tenor pioneered by Big Mon.

Their songs here, all ...

Mike Marshall & Chris Thile: Into the Cauldron

Read "Into the Cauldron" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

While this recording has Mike Marshall’s name on it--and he was an instrumental member of David Grisman’s quartet--the presence of Chris Thile makes Into the Cauldron somewhat of an event. And what an event it is. Recordings like this smack of a single element—virtuosity. Here are two mandolin masters showing off in a duet style using ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonny Landreth: The Road We're On

Read "The Road We're On" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

. . .Falling out of solution, perfectly.

The title of innovator is one not to be overused, and in all of the history of music there have only been a handful. When restricting the discussion to the technical performance aspects of guitar, three true innovators come to mind. Jimi Hendrix shot the electric guitar into the ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

James McMurtry: Saint Mary Of The Woods

Read "Saint Mary Of The Woods" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Texas singer/songwriter James McMurtry imparts a high degree of literary insight to (perhaps inadvertently) parallel his famous dad, novelist Larry McMurtry. In any event, the vocalist’s penchant for intertwining his wry wit with cleverly articulated, Southern fried lyricism provides a distinct edge throughout. One component of the artist’s appeal resides within his understated delivery amid his ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Doc Watson and Frosty Morn: 'Round The Table Again

Read "'Round The Table Again" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

“Please make welcome, a national treasure, Doc Watson..."

With that fitting introduction, Doc Watson, with his late son Merle’s band Frosty Morn, begin their appearance at the Wilkes Community College, Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Wilkes Community College is the home of the annual Merlefest, a traditional American music festival sponsored in honor of Merle Watson, which was ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nickel Creek: This Side

Read "This Side" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Bluegrass wunderkinder return with a much different take on bluegrass.

Nickel Creek’s newest release, This Side, is a definite extension of their self-titled first recording and Chris Thile’s and Sean Watkin’s most recent recordings ( Not All Who Wander Are Lost and Let It Fall, respectively). This Side boasts plenty of the trio’s trademark acoustic magic ...