The real bluegrass
So you got turned on to bluegrass music when the soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" became a huge hit a few years ago. Outside Alison Krauss, little of the bluegrass was by anyone still alive or at least younger than, say, 75. And so you're a little bummed to have discovered this incredible music style that doesn't seem to have much of a future.
Disgruntled bluegrass fan, meet Laurie Lewis. Possessed of a gorgeous a set of pipes as Ms. Krauss, perhaps a better fiddle player, and writer of even better songs songs that will be played as long as there are bluegrass bands to play them Lewis is the balm to calm any heart excited by bluegrass and needing a fix.
Her new album is full of the kind of virtuosic playing and great songs we've come to expect from Lewis. Longtime musical partner Tom Rozum has a nice tenor voice, not so far off from Ricky Skaggs' and he plays as mean a mandolin as Skaggs, too. Guitarist Scott Huffman provides yet a third sterling voice (a smooth baritone, in this case), while banjoist Craig Smith and standup bass player Todd Phillips round out the band's remarkable sound.
It is a sound that is completely steeped in tradition, yet one that upholds that tradition through aggressive, in your face playing. This is no passive museum piece, but living, breathing, vital bluegrass beholden to and respectful of the past, but grounded in the here and now, and reaching for the future.
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