Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen
Rice, Rice, Hillman & PedersenRounder Records #11611-0450-2
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
I guess I should have figured differently. Given the strong bluegrass roots of Larry Rice, Tony Rice, Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, it was natural to assume that their collaboration would be a traditional bluegrass collection. After all, between the four of them, they are veterans of some of the best known of all bluegrass groups. JD Crowe & The New South, The Bluegrass Album Band, The Dillards, Here Today, and even (for a short time) Flatt & Scruggs and The Foggy Mountain Boys included at least one of these fine players at one time or another.
Surprise number one: It wasn't a true bluegrass album. Each of these players has enjoyed success in areas other than bluegrass, and this album reflects that. About half the songs on this album are originals (four by Hillman, two by Larry Rice). Of these, Rice's The Year of El Nino stands out, with Rickie Simpkins playing a haunting fiddle break to open the piece, and Tony Rice's Latin-influenced guitar work. Flatt & Scruggs' classic, I'll Be On That Good Road Someday is there for the die-hard traditionalist. Other cover tunes come from sources as varied as the backgrounds of the players themselves.
Joining the quartet, in addition to Rickie Simpkins on fiddle, is Ronnie Simpkins on bass and The Seldom Scene's Fred Travers on Dobro. Hillman, Pedersen and Larry Rice share lead vocals, and each has an easy, seemingly effortless flow to his singing. Sadly, a throat condition still prevents Tony Rice from contributing vocally. His guitar work, however, provides a warm texture around which everything else revolves.
Which leads me to surprise number two: I really liked this album, despite it not being what I expected. I enjoy it more each time I play it.
| || |
Edited by Jonathan Colcord