Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Blue Highway--Lonesome Pine (2006)

Artist-Blue Highway
Album-Lonesome Pine
Release Date-Apr 25, 2006
Genre/Style-Country/Progressive Bluegrass

Review-by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. Combining crack musicianship, solid vocals, and good songs, Blue Highway gained a reputation as a premiere bluegrass supergroup in the mid-'90s at Rebel Records. Between 1995 and 1998, the band cut three albums for the label, It's a Long, Long Road, Wind to the West, and Midnight Storm. And as so often happens, the band, for one reason or the other, moved on to a new label. But as the Rebel compilation states, it all started here, and Lonesome Pine collects cuts from all three albums to create a portrait of a young bluegrass group on the make. Listening to early cuts like "In the Gravel Yard" gives the impression that members Shawn Lane, Wayne Taylor, Tim Stafford, Jason Burleson, and Rob Ickes knew what they were about from the start. Blessed with three lead singers, a distinctive dobro player, and fine harmony, songs like the lead track sound traditional without sounding old-fashioned. One oddity is that Lonesome Pine is only 44 minutes, which means there should've been room for nearly 30 more minutes of music on this disc. This takes nothing away from the 13 songs here, but the album, as excellent as it is, could've been an even more definitive collection.


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