This young singer shows much promise in his attempt to pay homage to the Stanley sound. He is surrounded by great musicians who make him sound authentic in a time when bluegrass is moving further from its rural roots. An all-star cast includes Dennis Crouch on bass, Casey Campbell on mandolin, Glen Duncan or Aubrey Haynie on fiddle, Ned Luberecki or Scott Vestal on banjo, and Cody Kilby on guitar. Harmony vocals are not credited, but someone does a pretty good job of capturing Ralph Stanley’s tenor on “Cry From The Cross” and “Loving You Too Well.”
The material is drawn from the Stanley songbook, along with a few originals. Hott’s vocals are solid, but he’s not quite up to the best of that ilk, which is asking a lot when being compared to the likes of Carter Stanley, Roy Lee Centers, and Keith Whitley. The picking is what one would imagine—hot, precise, and a bit too fancy for the sound that marked the classic Stanley sound. This is not to say it isn’t good. It’s very good, but a bit too Nashville.
This is a fine recording for those who like their music on the more traditional side without the warts and knots that make it real mountain style. (Rural Rhythm, P.O. Box 750, Mt. Juliet, TN 37121, www.ruralrhythmn.com.)RCB