Holy Toledo, Audie Blaylock knows from bluegrass! This is so steeped in the tradition and so incredibly well recorded that it has to be helping set new standards. Of course, the singer's talented-as-hell backing band comes in for a good deal of the credit as well, especially banjo player Evan Ward, but Audie's north-ridge voice is as genuine as a hound dog baying at a treed possum, and the backing vocals synch right up for a hoot in the holler an' a hogtrot down to the county seat.
The ensemble oscillates between hot bluegrass and more restrained trad renditions, but every second is a joy to listen to, making ya want to get down in the mud with yer boots on and start highkicking a jig. Flatt & Scruggs would be right tickled to have these cats on a tour, I have no doubt, especially given the immaculate musicianship speaking volumes about long hours logged in by the young Redline ensemble. Tony Trischka, I suspect, will want to have a word with Ward, and Blaylock should be finding himself being scouted for western soundtrack work. I'm not sure, though, that a film audience would be able to stay in its seat once this group kicked in…could be dangerous!
The CD starts out with the burning Whispering Hearts and shows no shortage of ear-ticklin' jaw-droppin' chops, but the ballads, like the standard My Blue Eyed Darling, are just as set in prairie stone, sounding like one of those segments from the Andy Griffith Show where the boys from Mount Pilot head down to regale Andy, Barney, Floyd, and the townies with a tearjerker or two amid the pickin', the grinnin', and the winejug swozzlin'. In short, if'n ya find yerself enamored of Trischka, Chris Thiele, Flatt & Scruggs, and the gaggle of the handpicked best in bluegrass, then, pilgrim, ya gotta listen to this bad boy of a disc. Every track is a gem.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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