Take the best of Hot Rize and Jimmy Martin and Doyle Lawson and Flatt & Scruggs and every other great bluegrass band you've ever heard, blindfold them and turn them until they're dizzy, throw a playlist in front of them with a good mixture of standard bluegrass and good ol' country and there you have it—No Turning Back. No surprise, though. The Lonesome River Band have been a festival favorite for years and have burned rubber on many of the backroads of the US of A, spreadin' the news, I guess you could say. They've hoe-downed and jigged and reeled their butts off, I guess, and it's strange that you don't hear more about them. Of course, that is slowly changing, the roots having grabbed the country by the emotional 'nads, and there aren't many genres that have more roots than bluegrass.
LRB mixes it up nicely, for those with a toe in both country and bluegrass. None of that modern Nashville stuff, of course, which is fine (some are even thankful), but some fine country tunes served up by a string of songwriters, most notably LRB's own Brandon Rickman, and carefully picked. The Great Depression is handled very well in We Couldn't Tell (when you have nothing and then you have nothing, you ask 'what depression?'). Love songs are seldom written to an instrument, though there have been a few, and "Wires and Wood" is among the best. A great idea turned great music. They even throw in the cry-in-your-beer sobber (and it's a good one), Flowers. Down-and-out is occasionally fodder for a good song.
This is a good album for bluegrassers who like a bit of country, or country people who like a bit of bluegrass. Well-recorded, very well played, beautifully sung… Some days, you hear music this good and you have to say, it just doesn't get any better than this. Warning: Not for punks or metalheads.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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