march 2012

hawksI SEE HAWKS IN L.A., New Kind of Lonely--Graceful, easygoing but meaty, the all-acoustic New Kind of Lonely, album six from the veteran I See Hawks In L.A., evokes the spirit of vintage Southern California folk and country--Gram Parsons, Flying Burrito Brothers--and adds a contemporary bluegrass flair. The duality permeating New Kind of Lonely keeps a listener on his toes, lest the Hawks’ world seem too straightforward; fittingly, the music’s southern Cal country lilt is deceptive—it sure sounds pretty, but dastardly things are going on around it. Bliss out at your own risk.

boydKATY BOYD, Paper Hearts--With the help of musicians from the bands of Ricky Skaggs and Delbert McClinton, and Nancy Griffiths’ producer Thomm Jutz behind the board, Katy Boyd has fashioned an album both beautiful and heartbreaking; an album that may or may not be drawn from her own experience, but feels real, and close to the bone.


riverLONESOME RIVER BAND, Chronology, Volume One--In honor of its 30th anniversary, the Lonesome River Band has come up with the interesting idea of celebrating each decade of its lifetime with an individual EP of revisited versions of tunes the band defined during each decade, and which in turn defined the band as one of contemporary bluegrass music’s top echelon practitioners. Volume One honors the band’s first decade following its formation in 1982.

riceTONY RICE, The Bill Monroe Collection--Released in January 2012, Tony Rice’s The Bill Monroe Collection is a bit late in celebrating the Bill Monroe centennial year of 2011, but it can fairly be argued that few artists have celebrated the music of the father of bluegrass longer or better than has Tony Rice. What’s a few months tardiness compared to a stellar career’s worth of Monroe tributes, as this anthology of recordings from the ‘80s and ‘90s attests?

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