COMMON STRINGS, Somewhere In GlorySomewhere In Glory could hardly be a more dramatic turn away from the traditional and especially the progressive secular bluegrass Common Strings advanced on its debut, but there is no news to indicate they won’t go back from whence they started. For the moment, this new work can be enjoyed as a spiritual statement of purpose, of a sort, and somewhere down the line, many more long players from now, how it fits into a larger body of work will be apparent.

STEVE GULLEY & TIM STAFFORD, Dogwood WinterOne of 2010’s finest releases is a dream pairing of acclaimed bluegrass veterans Steve Gulley and Tim Stafford. The bottom line is, as Gulley said in a statement to the press, “the songs themselves.” Dogwood Winter may be oddly named for a late spring-early summer release (it surfaced this past May), but the title, the title song and the desolate cover photo—a lone dogwood tree blooming in the midst of a deep snowfall—prove an apt metaphor for a batch of tunes as deeply reflective as these, performed with singer-songwriter intimacy and subtly accompanied by pickers who know about atmospherics.

TIM O’BRIEN, Chicken & Egg This is Tim O’Brien at the apex of his art; you think he cannot possibly top his previous album, and he does. Somewhere John Hartford is smiling, along with the rest of us.



ROSEHILL, White Lines and StarsRosehill—Mitch McBain and Blake Myers, out of Texas—come forth with the imprimatur of one Radney Foster, himself a Lone Star lad who knows a thing or two about what makes a song work and when it’s real. Foster and his studio co-conspirator Jay Clementi co-produced White Lines and Stars, and both contribute their songwriting artistry to several of the tunes. The upshot? McBain and Myers got it going on, and White Lines and Stars looks like the frontrunner for country debut of the year.

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