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At the age of 69, J.D. Crowe enters his fifth decade of recording surveying the past and the present--and seeing nothing but pure bluegrass. Even when employing nonstandard instruments like pedal steel (played by Nashville genius Doug Jernigan) or breaking the rules of Scrugg-style banjo all over again, Crowe continues to draw on the sound and style that made the first New South album (Rounder 0044) a landmark. The low- and high-tenor blend of Rickey Wasson and Dwight McCall echoes the classic harmonies of Tony Rice and Ricky Skaggs, and the instrumental brilliance is always subordinate to good songs--contemporary in feel yet indebted to an honest, rural-based lyricism and durable, flexible old-time traditions. The band rocks through the public domain "Roving Gambler," jumps freights nimbly on "I'm a Hobo," and then subverts the myths on "In My Next Life," a devastating portrait of rural, working life and dreams. Cindy Walker's chestnut "Blue Bonnet Lane" is a showcase for McCall's sugary-smooth high lead singing and, of course, Crowe's wicked little banjo fills, while the title track, a highlight of New South live sets for years, is especially welcome. The album's only stumble is "You Can Be a Millionaire with Me," which makes an unfortunate equation between capital accumulation and soul salvation. Ultimately, music this rich doesn't need saving. --Roy Kasten
Like always J D doesn't put out an album just to put out an album. I agree with J D when he says Ricky Wasson is one of the best lead singers in bluegrass, add Dwight McCall and J... Read morePublished on October 13, 2008 by William Kent Marlin
There's not a bad song on this album! J.D.'s banjo-playing is as classy and stylish as ever. Highly Recommended!!!
--Sylvia from Suwanee, Ga