Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen
Rounder Records Corp.
A review written for Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
This is a bluegrass/country vocal album, not a restaurant dish. Anyone familiar with bluegrass will recognize Tony and Larry Rice. The Rice brothers have been rightly associated with hot picking for a long time. So is this a "hot picking album?" Not exactly. This is a vocal bluegrass and country album featuring vocals by Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen and Larry Rice. Tony does supply some nice guitar accompaniment, but I doubt you would say that the instrumentation steals the show. It is very tight and smooth. Vocally the hamonies are well done, listenable and enjoyable.
The songs in this third CD by this combo of musicians ranges from bluegrass (Jim & Jesse Mc Renolds) to country (Buck Owens) with a little pop here and there (Beatles, Steven Stills). To a dyed in the wool bluegrasser this is not bluegrass. It is good entertainment and provides music that will appeal to a wide range of people who like bluegrass and country music.
The best cuts are Still's song 4 + 20 and the catchy country tune Two of a Kind. San Antone is an original by Hillman, which has a nice traditonal bluegrass feel with good backup by Tony Rice. Larry Rice's vocal lead is mellow and contrasts somewhat with the tight harmonies by Hillman and Pedersen. Larry sings four of the twelve leads including Hard Hearted, a Jim & Jesse Mc Reynolds song. Hillman and Pedersen have been singing together for a long time, which is evident in their tight harmonies.
This group of musicians has been singing and playing together for over four decades but they have done the majority of their work in different groups. This is their third Rounder CD together, and the breadth of music and quality of performance demonstrates that it probably will not be their last together. The more you listen to this CD the more you appreciate it.