John And Mary
IIIrd Tyme OutRounder CD 11661-0463-2
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Third Tyme Out once again proves they have the golden touch with their new recording, John And Mary. As the International Bluegrass Music Association's "Vocal Group of the Year" for the past six (!) years, John And Mary demonstrates that the group is not content to rest on its laurels. Drawing tunes from folks as varied as Doc Watson to Gene Watson, and from Loretta Lynn to Ronnie Bowman, as well as original tunes, IIIrd Tyme Out plays with the musical and vocal precision that is their trademark. Russell Moore is as distinctive a lead singer as one can find in any genre of music. Ray Deaton's bass vocals are rock solid, and never cease to catch one's attention.
One real highlight (and there are many on this album) is Ron Spear's Blue Ridge Mountain Memories. This song has it all: Steve Dilling's banjo kicking things off, Moore's lead vocals, Mike Hartgrove's fiddle dancing around the chorus, and Wayne Benson's mandolin break. And then there are those harmonies.
Opening the album is the title tune, co-written by Benson, Moore and Donnie Carver. Benson opens with a cool riff on mandolin that is joined later by the fiddle and banjo. A tale of lifelong love and devotion between two people, it is uplifting and a real toe- tapper at the same time.
Rob Ickes, dobro player for Blue Highway, joins the group on Milk Cow Blues. Hartgrove's fiddle and Benson's mandolin take a bluesy twist alongside Ickes' dobro. John And Mary might well be the finest work of IIIrd Tyme Out's distinguished catalog. Anyone wanting to see what contemporary bluegrass is all about should look no further.
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Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz