CD Stock Number: G Run Records GRR 1002
Jack Lawrence has been linked with Doc Watson for the last fifteen years as his principle sideman and musical cohort. I Don't Need the Whiskey Anymore proves that in addition to being one of the finest flatpickers on the planet, Jack can write great songs and sing beautifully. All the selections on I Don't Need the Whiskey Anymore feature ensembles except for two; the closing "bonus track" of a live version of "Florida Blues" with Doc, and a medley of three fiddle tunes for solo guitar accompanied by a bass. Sidemen include Sam Bush and Ronnie McCoury on mandolin, Jason Carter and Don Lewis on fiddle, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Jim Mills and Rob McCoury on banjo, Robbie Link and Mike Bub on bass, Scott Ainsile on National slide guitar, and Russell Johnson, Jim Watson, and Del McCoury on harmony vocals.
Material for I Don't Need the Whiskey Anymore came from many sources. Roger Rasnake has four songs on the album, including the title number, co-written with Jack. Songs by Norman Blake, John Hartford, Leroy McNees, Grandpa Jones, Dickie Betts, and several old traditional melodies round out the disk's menu. Only two selections are instrumentals. The rest all feature Jack's fine voice. My favorite selection is the title track, which has an authentic old time '50's honky tonk feeling. Del McCoury and his "boys" turn in virtuoso performances as Jack's back up band on this number. Probably the most surprising song on the album is a spirited and rootsy version of the Allman Brother's classic "Blue Sky." In addition to vocals and guitar Jack plays a fine mandolin part on this track that combines beautifully with his guitar and Don Lewis' fiddle parts.
Sonically I Don't Need the Whiskey Anymore is almost a good as what you'll find from Acoustic Disc or Sugar Hill. It lacks only that last bit of spaciousness and warmth, but the slightly anechoic quality doesn't detract from the music's power. If you don't find this disc at your local store try Amazon.com or www.jacklawrence.com.