june 2012

audie blaylockAUDIE BLAYLOCK and REDLINE, Hard Country-- On balance it’s safe to say Audie Blaylock and Redline on a hot roll. Each year since 2009 the group has released an album of state-of-the-art traditional bluegrass, with last year’s contribution being a stirring centennial tribute to the father of bluegrass, I’m Going Back to Old Kentucy (A Bill Monroe Celebration). The intriguingly titled Hard Country continues that trend.

larry stephensonLARRY STEPHENSON, What Really Matters--To declare Larry Stephenson’s What Really Matters the best album of his laudable 20-year solo career is a dicey proposition, given the high standard of traditional bluegrass picking and singing marking all of his long players. Better than “best album,” then, let’s say What Really Matters is clearly Stephenson’s deepest, most soulful effort.

marleys ghost jubileeMARLEY’S GHOST, Jubilee-- Celebrating a quarter century together, Marley’s Ghost follows up one of 2010’s best albums (Ghost Town) with the Cowboy Jack Clement-produced Jubilee, which can fairly be designated as one of 2012’s finest long players. The quartet has played practically every style of roots music under the sun, but on Jubilee, perhaps owing to Cowboy’s influence, the fellows keep a tight focus on their strength as country and folk musicians first and foremost.

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