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Various Bluegrass, Blues and Jazz Albums
Reviews By Steven Stone

 

Butch Baldassari and Van Manakas
Leavin' Tennessee

When Butch Baldassari passed way passed away on January 10, 2009 after a battle with an inoperable brain tumor, everyone who knew him and his music mourned his passing. This posthumous release features Butch playing with Van Manakas on guitar, Stuart Duncan and Bobby Hicks on fiddle, and Scott Vestal on banjo. The seventeen instrumentals amply demonstrate why Butch's playing was so special.

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The Autumn Defense
Once Around

Ready for some frothy processed pop music? On their fourth Autumn Defense album Wilco members John Stirratt and Pat Sansone are happy to oblige. Shades of ELO sonic splendor mixed with a folkish acoustic innocence make the overall sound fresh yet familiar. If you love late Beatles and Badfinger you're going to enjoy The Autumn Defense. Also available on vinyl.

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The Blue Canyon Boys
Mountain Bound

On their fourth album the Blue Canyon Boys prove that Colorado-based bluegrass is alive and well. Guitarist Jason Hicks and mandolinist Gary Dark do most of the lead singing and songwriting, but they also include tuens from Bill Monroe, Louvin Brothers, Delmore Brothers, and Don Reno for balance. Their original tunes are all well written and played with verve. 

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Steve Gulley & Tim Stafford
Dogwood Winter

Blue Highway band-mates recorded Dogwood Winter in 2009, but the shuttering of Pinecastle records delayed its release. Populated by fourteen original co-written songs, this album also features Gulley and Stafford's lead vocals, using the duo style first popularized by the brother groups of the 30's. Joined by Ron Stewart on fiddle and Adam Steffey on mandolin, every song is a gem. 

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