Flashbackwas a J.D. Crowe & The New South release from 1994 which featured Richard Bennett, Don Rigsby, Curt Chapman, Randy Howard, and J.D. This album, along with its predecessor Foxhounds & Fiddlesfrom 2017, features Bennett, Rigsby, Chapman, and banjoist Stuart Wyrick and is an offshoot of a recent reunion tour of the 1994 band that had J.D. coming out of retirement temporarily.
Although Crowe is not among those present for these proceedings, the New South sound is definitely in evidence. Bennett (whose fine guitar work almost sounds more like Tony than Tony ever did), Rigsby, and Chapman form a solid core, both instrumentally and vocally, and Wyrick’s banjo work seems the perfect replacement for J.D. There are one or two spots that cause a bit of brow-furrowing, with some oddly strained vocals or harmony that doesn’t quite jell, but overall this is a first-rate release. Rigsby and Bennett’s “A Rose (From Time To Time)” is a fine original with great harmony and instrumental breaks all around. “The Letter” from Rigsby and Dave Adkins is a beautiful slow emotional ballad which gets excellent treatment. Other highlights include “Denver Snow” (from Bennett and Shawn Lane), James Taylor’s “One Morning In May,” a really nice job on “Take This Hammer,” “I’ll Be True To The One I Love,” and Rigsby’s “We Might Get A Little Loud,” and a stellar version of the New South classic “Born To Be With You.”
If you’re looking for powerful rock-solid bluegrass with a progressive bent to it in the spirit of the New South, you’d probably have to look long and hard to find anything that equals Flashback’s current release. (Pinecastle Records, 2514 River Rd., Ste. 105, Piedmont, SC 29673, www.pinecastlemusic.com.)AW