The branding of LRB is solidly embedded in this excellent recording. The liner notes capture the mood of the disc precisely: “We always spend a lot of time and thought when choosing material for a new project and try to keep the ‘LRB sound’ you have come to expect. We also stand for what we believe—quality bluegrass based in tradition, with of course the occasional jam tune we can’t help but have fun with.”
The notes continue with: “We as a band see so many things taking place within our music and everyday world that leaves us scratching our heads. Where some people may change their values and forget their heritage and where they came from, make no mistake, we are not. At the end of the day, we will stand for what we believe is right and what is wrong. We are going to continue to hold true to these traditional values and deliver great material the best way we know how.”
The opening track “Generosity Killed This Cat” describes a man who gave a woman everything, but lost all to her in the end. Track two, “New Ballads Branch,” is a driving tune telling of a cold-hearted lover. The title-track, “Outside Looking In,” tells a prisoner story by a son who murdered his father. The father abused the mother. The son hide’s the family’s secret by serving a prison sentence when his mother was actually the accused. “Cassidy’s Prayer Book” is about a Civil War Union soldier who got a prayer book from a chaplain. The soldier lost the book, but it was recovered and kept by the soldier until his death. “Wreck Of My Heart” allows guitarist/lead vocalist Brandon Rickman to cut loose with a country feel on vocals.
IBMA Hall Of Famer Bill Emerson gets a salute from banjoist and band leader Sammy Shelor on the instrumental “Home Of The Red Fox.” Mandolinist Jesse Smathers is out front singing “Little Magnolia” in waltz time. He and Rickman complement each other well, adding to the excitement of the recording. Mike Hartgrove on fiddle and Barry Reed on bass keep the LRB sound consistent and tight. (Mountain Home, P.O. Box 829, Arden, NC 28704, www.mountainhomemusiccompany.com.)BW