Three August Nights Live
Northern Lights & Vassar ClementsPCD73
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
There are certain albums which become imprinted in the hearts and souls of those of us who love bluegrass music. Like many others of my vintage, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will The Circle Be Unbroken and the first Old And In The Way are such albums. They led to explorations by other musicians who desired to learn and play this music with yet others. The common thread between those two albums, as well as this one, Three August Nights Live, is fiddling legend and former Blue Grass Boy, Vassar Clements. His virtuosity is well known and respected. What Michael Jordan was to NBA basketball, Vassar Clements is to the bluegrass fiddle! |
Northern Lights is a band which has developed a huge following over the past 20 years, both in their New England home and throughout the US. Their approach can sometimes stretch beyond the bounds of the die-hard bluegrass traditionalist, but they always make good, solid music. Together, Northern Lights and Clements sound as if they've been playing together all their life. Catching them in a live performance, one can feel the energy in the playing as well as in the crowd reactions.
Reviving a number of tunes from the "Old And In The Way" days; ie., Wild Horses, Midnight Moonlight, as well as some traditional bluegrass standards, Goodbye Old Pal," and Dixie Breakdown," Northern Lights and Clements put on three shows in which lead singer, Taylor Amerding says they were "swept away." Along with the bluegrass standards are some original Northern Lights tunes; Got The Spirit, and Northern Rail, along with a swinging version of Merle Travis Kinfolks in Carolina. Their version of the Eagles' classic Heartache Tonight is a high energy experience from some of the finest musicians anywhere.
The chance to see Northern Lights live is a treat. To see them with Vassar Clements would be something rare and special. This recording has captured those three nights very well. I'd love to have been there, but with Three August Nights Live," I'll go there over and over again.