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A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by
Volume 6 of the Bluegrass Album Band's continuing series of recordings shows just as much energy and precision as their first. As the title indicates, it is an all-instrumental collection, with classics from Bill Monroe, favorites from Flatt and Scruggs, and originals that reflect the bluegrass tradition.
It's an all star lineup: Tony Rice on guitar, J. D. Crowe on banjo, Todd Phillips playing bass, Jerry Douglas on Dobro, Doyle Lawson on mandolin, and the twin fiddles of Bobby Hicks and Vassar Clements. Their collective energy permeates each selection of the album.
The album opens with a killer arrangement of "Wheel Hoss". It'll wake you up quicker than a triple cappuccino. As the album glides through "Misty Morning," "Ground Speed," and "Stoney Lonesome", you're then catapulted into the dreamy double fiddles with Monroe's "Lonesome Moonlight Waltz". Crowe's banjo has never sounded sweeter than in "Foggy Mountain Chimes" and "Home Sweet Home." Douglas gives each of these pieces a Josh Graves-ish bend while still providing the speed and precision that show his versatility as one the world's finest Dobro players. Doyle Lawson provides two compositions for the album, "Misty Moonlight" and "North County Waltz" that fit in beautifully with the classics. The album closes with another step up the tempo ladder, as "Roanoke" showcases Lawson's mandolin picking.
This isn't just a great album, its one you'd have to have if you were stranded on the proverbial desert isle. It's rare that a new release makes it right away to the top shelf of the CDs around our house. But there, right next to "Foggy Mountain Banjo", is "Strictly Instrumental".
Edited By Kerry Dexter