Guest Author - Chris Curtis
Bryan Sutton – Bluegrass Guitar
Bryan Sutton is one of the most "in demand" guitarists on the Bluegrass circuit. He's been named IBMA's guitarist of the year for 2000, 2003, 2004and 2005. At the age of 24, Bryan joined Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder and with that exposure, he quickly rose to the top echelons of the flat pick guitar players. Bluegrass Guitar is his 1st solo project, and with it he delivers a selection of hard sizzling instrumental guitar rhythms. Bryan is joined by Dennis Crouch (bass), Tim Crouch (fiddle), Tim O'Brien (mandolin), and David Talbot (banjo and rhythm guitar).to produce this classic mix influenced by bluegrass, traditional old time, R&B, jazz, spiritual and country. Highlights are "Beaumont Rag", "The High Road" and "Back Up and Push". "The Storms Are on the Ocean" and "Margaret's Waltz" are exceptionally sweet. There isn't a bad cut on this CD.
Alison Brown - Stolen Moments
Stolen Moments presents an eclectic blend of ballads and instrumentals with a seamless fusion of jazz, celtic, bluegrass and folk in an interesting mix of Alison's compositions, traditional music and contemporary folk ballads. With a synthesis of the elements, this is the most blended musical showcase of her career.
As a female banjoist, Alison has disregarded the conventional wisdom of the banjo's role in music. Her imagination and talent has explored the possibilities in a number of realms not traditionally considered for the banjo and in doing so has created an intriguing eclectic collection of compositions. Stolen Moments is not just a collection of banjo cuts, it is a highly creative masterpiece with enough variety in tone, tempo and melody to keep you listening and listening and listening again. With each new listening, you are sure to hear something new, something exciting. Alison shines on "Homeward Bound" sung by the Indigo Girls. "Carrowkeel" and "(I'm Naked and I'm) Going to Glasgow" are heavily influenced by Celtic traditions overlaid with jazz, oldtime and bluegrass styles; amazingly innovative. With banjo in Alison's hand, expect the unexpected.
Moody Bluegrass – A Nashville Tribute to the Moody Blues
There is no greater honor to an artist then to have their peers pay tribute to their music. It's hard to imagine the Moody Blues music with a bluegrass arrangements but Nashville brought together the top talents of Alison Krauss and Union Station, Alison Brown, John Cowan, Sam Bush, Tim O'Brien, Stuart Duncan and a host of other top bluegrass artists to produce the surprisingly brilliant Moody Bluegrass. This CD quickly became one of my most frequently played CDs. While I won't say it's better than the original Moody Blues, it does bring forth the depth and richness of the original compositions. Highlighs include "Land of Make Believe", "Wildest Dreams" and "Its Up to You". Cowan tenor vocals are perfect for his interpretations of "Nights in White Satin". and "Never Comes the Day".
Mark O'Connor - 30 Year Retrospective
Recorded live because these guys are in such high demand that schedules couldn't be worked out for the recording studios. Mark O'Connor is accompanied by Bryan Sutton, - award winning guitarist, Chris Thile – mandolin virtuoso, and Bryon House – top bluegrass bassist to showcase Mark's musical accomplishments across his 30 year career. These guys are brilliant in lending their innovative interpretation of O'Connor's work. My favorite cut is "Macedonia", which is one of the pieces I heard performed live by these same four musicians at Merlefest 2004. After hearing that set, I simply had to have this CD and it is one of most played CDs. There are 29 cuts in all. Other standouts are "A Bowl of Bula", "Mark's Waltz", "Caprice No.4 In D Major" on the 1st disc and "Bowtie", "Picking on the Wind", "Granny White Special", and "Into The Walls Of Mandoness".
Jerry Douglas – Best Kept Secret
Best not to keep this one a secret because nobody else can express such deep emotions with the dobro. Jerry Douglas is master by anyone's standard and has the credentials to prove it with twelve Grammy Awards under his belt. Jerry surrounds himself with other top acoustic artists like Viktor Krauss, Bela Fleck and Sam Bush, southern rock guitarist Derek Trucks, and vocalists Alison Krauss, and John Fogarty on this outing. From the Bluesy "Swing Blues #1" to the soft sweet sounds of "Sir Aly B" and "A Remark You Made" to the dark melody of the title track "Best Kept Secret", Douglas keeps you engaged throughout the entire project. One listen and you'll be totally hooked.