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Side By Side

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews



Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 27, 2004)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sugar Hill
  • ASIN: B00012FXQS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,940 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Ross on January 28, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I don't think that "BlueRidge" is the greatest name for a bluegrass band, but their music will certainly leave an indelible image on your memory banks. The quintet, formed in 1998, now has three albums under their belt with the release of "Side by Side." Their two previous efforts, "Common Ground" (1998) and "Come Along With Me" (2002), sold well and introduced us to their cohesive neo-traditional bluegrass sound characterized by some good material selection. It could be that the band's rather blasé band name is the antithesis of their hard-hitting, professional music. Perhaps "BlueRidge" simply represents an expression of their cool, relaxed, nonchalant, yet still workmanlike, approach to bluegrass. Jon Weisberger's liner notes, however, explains that the band has fashioned their sound to draw "on the discoveries of an entire cluster of musicians based in the Blueridge region of western Virginia and North Carolina." While BlueRidge has seen banjo-player Terry Baucom and fiddler Dewey Brown move on to other endeavors, their current configuration has some impressive pickers and singers: Alan Bibey (mandolin), Junior Sisk (guitar), Joey Cox (banjo), Alan Johnson (fiddle), and Ed Biggerstaff (bass).
Nine of 13 tracks feature the lead singing of Junior Sisk, whose emotionally-charged vocalizing is equally comfortable with tempos ranging from slower numbers like "Brand New Tennessee Waltz" and the classic "All the Good Times" to songs like the peppy opener, "What If (Then I'll Come Back To You)" and closer "Pocket Full of Money." His own original "You Better Get" exclaims "Well I better get while the getting's good." In the late 90s, Sisk toured the U.S. and Europe with his band, Rambler's Choice, as part of their "Songs from the Mountains" project.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jim Gibson on January 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
BlueRidge has come out with has to be one of the top projects of the year. Their last project "Come Along With Me" was very good but "Side By Side" is on a total different level, THE TOP!! This is the best they've ever sounded and great material too. Bibey's mandolin playing always rocks but I think he's better than ever here. The tone of that mandolin is incredible. The title track written by Bibey is a great tune and really well sung also. Also sounding better than ever here is Junior Sisk. I've always liked his voice but I love it here. He is definitely on top of his game on this project. You Better Get is also one of my favorites that Junior wrote. Ed Biggerstaff's tenor singing and bass playing are flawless and very strong as is his lead singing on Back To Cana. New banjo player Joey Cox and fiddle player Alan Johnson have really added to the overall sound of the band. Cox really excells on Ten Plagues and Avalanche as does Johnson. I was amazed to see that Johnson is singing bass. He has one of the best bass voices I've heard. The fiddle backup on You Better Get is wonderful. Overall this is a must buy for any REAL bluegrass lover. Way to go guys. Hope to see you out west soon!
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Format: Audio CD
Bluegrass purveyors Blue Ridge delivers the goods with an ace band and tightly knitted harmonies that keep the nasal tone of the genre well-tempered. "Side by Side" sounds like the band is fully steeped in traditional bluegrass and gospel conventions but not chained to those traditions. Although the songs here are a mix of traditional and new songs, the band is not really so much about moving the boundaries of bluegrass as they are about blowing out the cobwebs from the genre.

The tunes are short, mostly up tempo glimpses at lives and times that for the most part are ignored or ridiculed these days. Listening to these songs really brings one back down to earthy by focusing on simple truths and ideas.

The band is a five-piece aggregation--featuring mandolinist Alan Bibey, guitarist Junior Sisk, fiddler Alan Johnson, bassist Ed Biggerstaff, and banjoist Joey Cox--a heady mix of veterans and newcomers who are happy to showcase their skills without heaping on a bunch of ego.
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By Lenton K. Goforth on February 10, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I found this album quite by accident. I was searching for the old 1920s song 'Side by Side', and this turned up. I was pleasantly surprised, and after listening to the samples, I bought it. I am not disappointed. Every track is lively and tight! The harmonies mesh like watchwork gears! There's great songs too! "Land of Light" is totally a capella, and my favorite track, "Do What You Wanna Do" has a certain something that is very catchy. And true to form for traditional bluegrass, there's a touch of gosple music in it. This album is a real winner! This is some of the best Western Bluegrass that you'll find.
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