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Posted October 1, 2010
Broadly-appealing personalized bluegrass sound
One of the “new generation” of young hot bluegrass pickers and smooth singers, Josh Williams, from Kentucky, formed his first band in 1990 at age ten. He then received national recognition as a young bluegrass prodigy when he appeared in the 1993 IBMA Awards Show as part of a “youth in bluegrass” band. He recorded his first album in 1991, played with The Young Acoustic All-Stars (1994-98), Hyperdrive (1998), and The Special Consensus (since 2000). His stellar debut album called “Now That You’re Gone,” (Pinecastle PRC-1115) established Josh's name as a shining star on multiple instruments, as well as a great singing and songwriting talent. Josh primarily sticks to guitar and mandolin, but he also serves up some tasty mandola licks on “The Cave.” Besides lead vocals, he also sings some baritone and low tenor harmonies. If you don’t think this young man can pick with a vengeance, one need only listen to his jaw-dropping performance on his self-penned “Golden Pond Getaway.” This is another first-rate production of contemporary bluegrass and includes some excellent accompaniment from Don Rigsby, J.D. Crowe, Missy Raines, Ron Stewart, Randy Kohrs, Kristin Scott Benson, Otis Dillon, Dwight McCall and Jared Ribble. This album also shines in its choice of material. Besides a couple from Josh (“Down Another Lonesome Highway” and the instrumental “Golden Pond Getaway”), some of the other songs were penned by outstanding songwriters such as Tom T. and Dixie Hall, Jim Eanes, Becky Buller, and Ronnie Stewart. Williams is equally comfortable with older material (like “The Legend of the Johnson Boys” and “Don’t Stop Now”) as he is with newer offerings like “Ol’ Brown Suitcase” and “Sweet Forgiveness” and “Mordecai.” Songwriters Ron Spears and Charlie Edsall penned the album’s closer, “Cold Virginia Rain,” that is also getting some excellent airplay as a result of its inclusion on Prime Cuts of Bluegrass’ volume 69. Fantastic bluegrass music albums like this one must have a number of things to succeed. Josh Williams is a singularly impressive talent, but he also runs with a crowd of superior instrumentalists who get plenty of room to strut their musicianship here. Good songs, arranged with consummate care, are another integral element for success. Young, creative, and talented, Josh Williams is a tremendous and virtuosic force in the bluegrass community. His broadly-appealing personalized sound shows that bluegrass music is in good hands and has a bright future. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.