JOHN JORGENSON BLUEGRASS BAND
Jorgenson may not be known to you for playing bluegrass, but he does so here with his old bandmate from the Desert Rose Band, Herb Pedersen, along with Jon Randall and Mark Fain. That’s an impressive lineup of pickers, and it yields good results. Jorgenson handles the mandolin in a refreshingly interesting way. The interplay between the mandolin and guitar on this recording stand out time and again as being uniquely understated and highly effective. Pedersen’s banjo playing is a treat to hear again. Rob Ickes guests on two tracks.
The vocals are also a standout aspect of this recording. They transcend the commonplace. While they lack the aching, acrid, tenor that marks so much of the great bluegrass, they reflect the standards of the very best vocal groups from more pop-oriented genres. Let’s describe it this way, if The Eagles ever made a bluegrass album, well it would sound a lot like this one.
The material here is outstanding, given the inherent songwriting talent in the band. Jorgenson, Pedersen, and Randall all have strong writing credentials, and they bring forth the best material. Their reading of the late Mitch Jayne’s “There Is A Time” may be the standout cut. Other strong cuts include the classic “Wait A Minute” by Pedersen, Rodney Crowell’s “Wandering Boy,” and “Die Trying” by Randall and the late Guy Clark. There is not a bad cut out of the 15 on the project.
Jorgenson’s mandolin playing is quite a treat. He does some nice cross-picking on “No One Else” and “Die Trying.” His understated fills speak volumes. On “Whiskey Lullaby,” his break says everything the lyrics don’t. This is great music and will appeal to those who like their bluegrass newgrass-style. This is fine music from a powerful quartet. (www.johnjorgenson.com)RCB