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Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Various Bluegrass & Blues Albums

Review By Steven Stone
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Chris Henry   Monroe Approved

Chris Henry’s traditional bluegrass style mandolin playing would certainly get a favorable nod from the Big Mon. Instead of a flurry of notes Henry chooses the right ones.  Henry’s original tunes capture the very essence of hardcore bluegrass while his covers have enough original twists to make them fresh. Produced by mandolin master Bruce Baldassari with cameos performances by Ronnie McCoury and Alan O’Bryant, Monroe Approved will make any old-line bluegrass fan smile.

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Meg Hutchinson   Come Up Full

Meg Hutchinson’s songs have garnered awards at Merlefest, the Kerrville Folk Festival and the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest. Her introspective ballads couple elegant floating melodies with gentle swinging rhythms. The breathy vocals and organic arrangements on her debut Red House release remind me of some of Catie Curtis and Susan Werner’s best work. Hutchinson’s refreshingly rancor-free compositions demonstrate that music can be soft without being cowardly.

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Rhonda Vincent   Good Thing Going

Rhonda Vincent’s latest release resonates with greater emotional depth than her previous efforts. She has always fielded bands capable of hyper-kinetic high-energy stage shows, but some critics felt their showmanship bordered on Nash-Vegas slickness. On Good Thing Going the fast songs are brisk but not breakneck. This gives Vincent an opportunity to savor her lead vocals instead of rushing through them. On the Western swing tune "World’s Biggest Fool" Vincent’s delivery is perfect.

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Ryan Blotnick   Music Needs You

Twenty-four year-old Ryan Blotnick fronts a classic jazz quintet on his first CD as bandleader. All compositions save one are Blotnick originals and all demonstrate his thorough emersion in the work of guitar pioneers such as Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall and Joe Pass. Pete Robbins alto saxophone and Albert Sanz piano lines also display a cool lyrical quality that enhances Blotnick’s late '50’s – early '60’s musical ambiance. If you find most contemporary jazz self-indulgent and lacking melodic cohesion, Music Needs You will be a refreshing tonic.

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