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Bryan Sutton - Not Too Far From The Tree

Not Too Far From The Tree

Bryan Sutton

SUG CD 4001

Sugar Hill Records
PO Box 55300
Durham, N.C. 27717

Available from Sugar Hill Records

A review written for Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jim Zimmerschied

For guitar picking enthusiasts, here is a whole closet full of pickers in one recording. Bryan Sutton picks for a living. He was the lead guitarist for Ricky Skaggs band, "Kentucky Thunder". He has also performed in Gospel bands and as a studio musician in Nashville. His idea for an album is to go around and record guitar duets with as many of the world's greatest flat pick style guitar players as he can. As noted on the CD cover, it is A Collection of Guitar Duets With Heroes and Friends. Names like Doc Watson, Tony Rice, David Grier, Russ Barenberg, Norman Blake, Earl Scruggs, Dan Crary... the list goes on.

Just seeing the lineup for this CD made me want to hear it. The album doesn't disappoint you either. Byran and his guests selected some of the juiciest traditional tunes out their and smoked away at them. The recordings were done by Bryan mostly at the guest heros' homes. There is less big studio polish and more "sitting on the back porch on a Saturday evening" in the feel. Refreshing and fun to listen to. I liked all the selections. Probably my favorite was with Doc Watson as they played Whiskey Before Breakfast and hearing Doc in the background complementing Byran's lead on one of the rounds. "That was real pretty", he quips.

Here is a list of the tunes and the Hero who did the duet with Bryan:

  • Forked Deer with Dan Crary
  • Bully of the Town with Norman Blake
  • The Nine Pound Hammer with George Shuffler
  • Lonesome Fiddle Blues and Dusty Miller with Tony Rice
  • Billy in the Lowground with Bryan's son Jerry
  • Stoney Creek with Jack Lawrence
  • The Old Spinning Wheel and Ragtime Annie with David Grier
  • Big Sciota with Russ Barenberg
  • Whiskey Before Breakfast with Doc Watson
  • Bonapart's Retreat with Jerry Douglas
  • Give Me the Roses with Earl Scruggs
  • Carroll County Blues"with Ricky Skaggs

As a bonus the album cover lists the axes (guitars) used on the record. Top notch just like the players. Byran plays a 1940 Martin D-28 Herringbone (don't you wish). Sutton stated these heroes influenced him when he was learning the guitar. This can be told by the fact that sometimes it is hard to tell who is playing lead in the duet. Not bad, Bryan.

You should consider adding this CD to your collection. Many of these heroes will be hanging up their axes one day so it is nice to have something more of theirs in your music bank. It is also nice that new heroes are ready to take their places.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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