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Moody Bluegrass
A Nashville Tribute To The Moody Blues
Rounder Records
www.rounder.com


It seems like a terrible idea. Normally, tribute records are a half-baked idea anyway, but to do a bluegrass tribute to a seminal 70's rock and roll band? Seems like a real not good idea. So, imagine my surprise when I popped the cd in and found myself grooving along. It was fun to try to pick out a few of the less popular Moody Blues songs, as well as just enjoying the amazing musicality of the record. And look at this list of people taking part in this project! Everyone from Alison Krauss and Stuart Duncan, to The Harvey clan, Sam Bush, Tim O'Brien, and the list goes on. So, obviously, I changed my tune to something more like this. How can you take some of the finest pop-rock songs ever written and have an amazing cast of talent interpreting those songs and NOT have a killer record?

Well, you can't. This album is full-on scorching bluegrass from the first to last notes. The songs are familiar to even the most un-pop listener, and so seams to easily fit into any musical diet. Highlights of the album include the bright tones of "Lovely To See You" - featuring some great Stuart Duncan fiddle work - and the rocking, down-home hootenanny of "Ride My See Saw". Barry Crabtree lays down some excellent banjo licks which perfectly complement the speedy tempo and astonishing harmony vocals of Harley Allen, John Cowan, and David Harvey. "Your Wildest Dreams" is full of the same pure pop flavor that the Moody Blues wrote into the track, but is even further enhanced by the lilting mandolins and tremendous dobro work. "Nights In White Satin" is as epic as it should be, with great Alison Krauss harmony vocals perfectly complementing the leads of John Cowan. The string section is amazingly vibrant, and the mandolin playing phenomenal.

The tribute ends fittingly with possibly the finest of Moody Blues tracks, "Never Comes The Day". This version is somewhat upbeat, and full of gospel overtones. It is amazing how well these songs translate into rootsy Americana, giving new life to some truly incredibly well written songs.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:

1. Lovely To See You
2. Land Of Make Believe
3. The Voice
4. The Other Side Of Life
5. It's Up To You
6. Ride My See Saw
7. I'm Just A Singer In A Rock And Roll Band
8. Legend Of A Mind
9. Your Wildest Dreams
10. Nights In White Satin
11. Late Lament
12. Never Comes The Day


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Mike Doughty



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