Four of the five musicians on this recording played together in J.D. Crowe’s New South band back in the 1990s. They include guitarist/vocalist Richard Bennett, mandolinist/vocalist Don Rigsby, resonator guitarist Phil Leadbetter, and bassist Curt Chapman. The album they recorded at that time (1994) was called Flashback. When it came time to choose a band name, that title fit the current group perfectly.
Filling in for Crowe on banjo is Stuart Myrick. Ronnie Stewart does play on two tracks: the steady rolling title-tune by Bennett that opens the recording and, later, on the slow Carter Stanley tune “You’re Still To Blame.” Crowe was a master, but these two give a good account of themselves. Five of the tracks were written by Bennett, ranging from the straight-ahead traditional bluegrass of the title-track through the slow, watercolor memory and longing on “Two Rivers” to his tribute to Merle Haggard, “The Hag Song” (written with Shawn Lane). The two remaining songs of Bennett’s are good, but those three have a grace and energy that make them highly attractive.
Interspersed among them are a couple of gospel tunes, the driving “That’s Where Glory Can Be Found” sung by Rigsby and the Louvin Brothers classic “Let Us Travel, Travel On.” Both are excellent, as are the slow, country with jazz overtones of “Autumn’s Not That Cold,” the classic bluegrass stylings of “Old Forgotten Home,” and Rigsby’s heartfelt reading of the aforementioned “You’re Still To Blame.”
This new/old band make this recording a distinct listening pleasure. Good writing. Good choices. Good playing. Good album. (Pinecastle Records, 2514 River Rd., Ste. 105, Piedmont, NC 29673, www.pinecastlemusic.com.)BW