Instrumentals

Instrumentals

by Kentucky Thunder
     
 
Duly honored with multiple awards, hit records, and unconditional respect from peers and fans alike, Ricky Skaggs wears it all well, and humbly, and stays true to the essence of music making in the bluegrass tradition. Leading the way, writing tunes, and playing multiple instruments, he still champions communal playing and graciously hands over the solo spotlight to

Overview

Duly honored with multiple awards, hit records, and unconditional respect from peers and fans alike, Ricky Skaggs wears it all well, and humbly, and stays true to the essence of music making in the bluegrass tradition. Leading the way, writing tunes, and playing multiple instruments, he still champions communal playing and graciously hands over the solo spotlight to the various members of his awesome aggregate, Kentucky Thunder (in a nice and rarely seen touch, the liner booklet includes bios of each band member). This long-awaited album of acoustic instrumentals (nine of which Skaggs wrote) has an infectious propulsiveness right from the git-go, when Skaggs (on mandolin) and Jeff Taylor (on accordion) call the proceedings to order with a sprightly dialogue on the jubilant "Going to Richmond," with fiddler Andy Leftwich adding a rousing, buoyant solo before yielding the floor for another round of solos. The life-affirming sound of the Emerald Isle also informs the album's most exalted moment, "Crossing the Briney," wherein the Nashville String Machine interjects a dramatic orchestral variant on the stirring Irish reel. The late, great fiddler Vassar Clements is honored by the various soloists in an easygoing stroll, "Missing Vassar," and one assumes Skaggs' intricate, angular workout on mandolin is a tribute to newgrass pioneer David Grisman on "Dawg's Breath." Indicative of the variety here, even klezmer king Andy Statman makes a memorable appearance, adding a couple of cheery Dixieland clarinet solos to the friendly rolling-and-tumbling ambience of "Gallatin Rag." Timeless music crafted with heart and soul by gentlemen virtuosos -- can't beat that.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Ricky Skaggs has featured instrumentals on his various albums before (where they're often among the highlights), but this set is the first time Skaggs and his Kentucky Thunder bluegrass ensemble have released an album solely of instrumentals, which makes this a special treat. From the Irish feel of the opening "Going to Richmond," Skaggs and the band hit a confident and assured groove that is at times as much string band jazz as it is bluegrass, and on the absolutely huge-sounding "Crossing the Briney," which makes used of the Nashville String Machine, the sound shifts closer to classical music, complete with massive, swelling crescendos. But this set has a traditional side, too, highlighted by the easy-rolling "Missing Vassar," and while Skaggs wrote all the pieces here, it isn't difficult to imagine Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder as an old-timey string band hanging out on the porch and playing a set of local favorites on a Saturday afternoon. It is this ability to stretch the boundaries of bluegrass while still adhering to a traditional base that makes Skaggs and company so interesting, and when Andy Statman brings his clarinet to the gentle, bright "Gallatin Rag" in a guest spot, the music ceases to be bluegrass or jazz or traditional or anything in particular, but emerges instead as a hybrid of everything at once.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/01/2006
Label:
Skaggs Family
UPC:
0669890100728
catalogNumber:
901007
Rank:
63870

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