THE EARLS OF LEICESTER

THE EARLS OF LEICESTER|
RATTLE AND ROAR

Rounder Records 1166100001

   It’s ironic that the man who stole the spotlight from Buck Graves as the most influential resonator guitar player produces recordings today that pay tribute to Graves and the band that brought him the most fame. He does this while forgoing his own style, emulating the nuances of his hero’s style. Then, the son of a fiddler recreates his father’s fine work and the whole band goes back to pay homage to perhaps the most influential bluegrass band of a half-century ago. Their television presence overshadowed even the father of bluegrass back then. It was a brand without rival.

This supergroup captures their sound so closely that, at times, it will send chills up the spine of a knowing listener. It almost makes one feel they are back in a bygone day, to hear these sounds wrought so faithfully. They have cherry-picked the best material for this hefty program of Foggy Mountain favorites. Shawn Camp catches the essence of one of the greatest bluegrass singers of all time. The material here is embedded in the soul of every older bluegrass fan. It comprises the Holy Grail of the music. The harmonies are stacked just so, the playing is what it should be where it should be and when it should be. Notes are held and cut off as they once were. It’s as if the revered band was brought back and placed in a modern studio with all of the technology available to really make them shine once again. Charlie Cushman can play Earl as all of the others can play their respective parts.

If you love Earl and Lester and the Foggy Mountain Boys, they live on here. The tension, the release, the drive, that soul, all live here in tribute. (Rounder Records, One Rounder Way, Burlington, MA 01803, www.rounder.com.)RCB

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