june 2009
reviews

lawsonDOYLE LAWSON & QUICKSILVER, Lonely Street— It figures that Doyle Lawson would kick off his 30th year of recording by teasing us. You cue up Lonely Street and settle back anticipating the traditional barnburning kickoff, only to be waylaid by the sound of chirping birds and a few tentatively plucked notes on the mandolin, all preceding several bars of mournful chording and noting as that bird keeps up his sweet chirping-until, at last, the pace picks up, Darren Beachley enters with a plaintive tenor vocal and the whole Quicksilver ensemble struts into the Bressler Brothers' tribute to the father of bluegrass in "Monroe's Mandolin," fittingly a song in which the singer vows to stay true to "the echo on the wind" of Mr. Bill's legacy. That little impish intro isn't the only surprise Lawson springs on this memorable occasion.

redstickRED STICK RAMBLERS, My Suitcase Is Always Packed— The venerable Red Stick Ramblers keep it geographically circumscribed and musically expansive on the entertaining outing that is My Suitcase Is Always Packed. Working with producers Gary Paczosa and Brandon Bell, the quintet rips and roars when it stays close to its Louisiana home, and gets downright swaggering and bluesy when venturing west across the border into the Texas swing and honky tonk precincts still swinging to Bob Wills, Willie Nelson and Asleep At the Wheel.

davidserbyDAVID SERBY, Honkytonk And Vine— Somewhere along the way some critic is going to refer to David Serby as "neo-honkytonker..." The one problem with such an assertion, while technically accurate, is its obliviousness to this Southern California artist's extra-terrestrial origins. There's nothing neo- about his third album, Honkytonk and Vine; it's true blue, bred-in-the-bone hard country and honkytonk by one of the most engaging young artists on the boards today. In the same way that Duffy emerged practically untouched by anything recorded after the 1960s, so does David Serby seem to have dropped in from a place where he was insulated from the most annoying trends in country music of the past decade or two.

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