Tasteful is the first word that Old Growth Quartet’s Right Smack In The Middle Of Town brings to mind. This group knows what it can do and what it shouldn’t do. That knowledge can take an ensemble a long way.
For example, they realize that fiddler Paul Elliott and guitarist Dale Adkins are the instrumental stars of the group. They showcase their skills to great effect by being judicious in using their breaks and fills in settings benefitting from the absence of a five-string banjo. Adkins has been a noted player since his time with Kate MacKenzie. Elliott’s long list of performing or recording credits include the Good Ol’ Persons, Alison Brown, Scott Nygaard, and Michelle Shocked. Bassman Joe Wilmhoff and rhythm guitarist Don Share know their role, providing solid support.
While the bandmembers, particularly the Kentucky native Wilmhoff (who also designed the CD package), provide several good songs, the highlight tracks are two covers. They kick off with a wonderfully rhythmic version of “The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore.” In contrast, “Louis Collins” receives a sensitive, moving treatment. This album is a strong first outing by a band with exceptional self-awareness. (www.oldgrowthquartet.com)AM