A bluegrass institution, the Seldom Scene presents vocal harmonies as close to perfect as any, lead vocals artistically restrained and expressive, instrumental virtuosity and polish, and one of the genres more interesting play lists. In addition to typical bluegrass and country tunes, theyve covered James Taylor, John Fogerty, and other "outsiders." Now, on Scenechronized, their first album since 2000, we hear Fogertys "A Hundred and Ten in the Shade," Scott Boyers "Please Be with Me" made famous by Eric Clapton, and Bob Dylans "Tomorrow Is a Long Time."
On Sidney Campbells "This Morning at Nine," Carter Stanleys "Sweetest Love," and Donna Hughes "Sad Old Train," they show their talent for galloping without getting breathless or shrill. Ben Eldridges masterful banjo pickin and Ronnie Simpkins solid stand-up bass drive em forward. Their beautifully blended, perfectly paced lilting harmonies grab at the heart in "Please Be with Me," John Duffey and Ann Hills "Dont Bother with White Satin," and the traditional "Katie Dear," with its silver-dagger-to-ward-off-suitors theme. They pierce the heart with their shimmering refrain in David Norriss classic "Heart and Soul."
Guitar, mandolin and Dobro solos, while crisp, succinct and musically appropriate, could explore further. This mountain of talent wouldnt collapse if some new veins didnt totally pan out -- and the magic might be enhanced. It certainly is by the recording and mixing quality, which showcase the bands array of fine acoustic instruments and make the vocals a clear, vibrant presence.
Grass lovers will delight in this album; newcomers will want to hear more, for sure.
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