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Randy Howard
I Rest My Case

Review By Steven Stone
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Randy Howard I Rest My Case

CD Number: Sugar Hill Records SUG-CD 3962


  In 1999 Randy Howard died of leukemia at the age of 38. Even within his short lifespan he has made a lasting contribution with his remarkable musical talents. During his ten years in Nashville doing sessions, he played on discs by Garth Brooks, George Jones, and Shelby Lynne, as well as a multitude of bluegrass recordings. On I Rest My Case you have the opportunity to hear Randy Howard at his best.

From the opening bars of "New Camptown Races," by mando great Frank Wakefield, Randy Howard's musical mastery is obvious. Not only could Randy play fast, but also with ease and fluidity that left mere mortals shaking their heads in amazement. Joined by such stellar players as Ron Block on banjo, Sam Bush, Jerry Grisman, and Don Rigsby on mandolin, Jerry Douglas and Al Perkins on dobro, Dennis Crouch, the late Roy Husky jr., and Kevin Grantt on bass, Bryan Sutton, Carl Jackson, Kathy Chiavola, Romane, and Trent Howard on guitars, and Carl Jackson, Don Rigsby, and Larry Cordle on vocals, Randy's fiddle and baritone vocal lead his ensembles through a variety of wonderful tunes. The spirited and engaging song roster includes several of his own original instrumentals in addition to songs by Carl Jackson, Kathy Chiavola, Joe Stuart, Dan Fogelberg, Al Clauser, and Robert Thiele. My favorite is the Randy Howard original, and title cut, "I Rest My Case," taken from his solo CD, Survival Of The Fiddlest. The song's bouncy rhythm coupled with its clever melody gives the players ample opportunity to display their musical abilities to their fullest.

When a talented artist dies while still in his prime you can't help but wonder what masterpieces he would have created if given more time on earth. I Rest My Case stands as a testament to Randy Howard's consummate artistry. While we can't help but mourn his passing, this disc lets us celebrate his life.




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