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Various Bluegrass & Blues Albums

Review By Steven Stone
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Billy Joe Shaver
Storyteller, Live at the Bluebird 1992

Recorded fifteen years ago, Billy Joe Shaver: Storyteller, Live at the Bluebird 1992showcases Shaver's most memorable songs in stripped down, MTV unplugged arrangements. His late son, super guitar slinger Eddy Shaver, demonstrates that even on an amplified acoustic he could generate searing leads. For Shaver fans this is an essential disc. Although many of the songs are covered on another live album, Unshaven Shaver, the renditions are so different that you need both to grasp the full breadth of Shaver's interpretive power.

 

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Jake Schepps
Ten Thousand Leaves

If you thought banjos were just for bluegrass Jake Schepps' new album will change your mind. He explores Latin, jazz, and the outer edges of new acoustic on his second outing as a bandleader. Joined by Greg Schochet on mandolin and guitars, Ryan Drickey on violin and Eric Thorin on bass Ten Thousand Leaves ranks with any major label release in terms of musicianship and originality. It also sounds superb. Recommended.

 

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Patterson Barrett
I Must Be Dreaming

Patterson Barrett's rustic vocals do little to distract from his insightful songwriting. Joined by the likes of Julie and Buddy Miller, and Deborah Holland to assist on the singing chores, Barrett assembles an arresting collection of original tunes. His songs combine alt-country musical textures with relaxed folky arrangements to create musical tableaus of down and out America. His song "She Won't Be Getting Any Sleep Tonight" deserves to be covered by a big-name country artist.

 

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Lonesome Traveler Bluegrass Band
Lonesome Traveler Bluegrass Band

Colorado-based Lonesome Traveler Bluegrass Band explores the old timey side of bluegrass music. Their sound harkens back to 30s string bands - closer to early Stanley Brothers mountain music than Bill Monroe driving Late 40's bands. Their version of Gillian Welch's "Tear My Stillhouse Down" infuses a twinge of western swing into this pseudo-depression era song. Jodi Boyce's straightforward lead vocals and mandolin solos set the tone for many of Lonesome Traveler's interpretations of classic bluegrass material.

 

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