True Bluegrass

True Bluegrass


Drawn from Rounder's 1970s bluegrass catalogue, True Bluegrass focuses on lesser-known artists in a field whose deeply personal performances yield nothing to those of the genre's more famous practitioners. As on O Brother, Where Art Thou?, life and death, love and heartbreak, home and family are this collectionSee more details below


Drawn from Rounder's 1970s bluegrass catalogue, True Bluegrass focuses on lesser-known artists in a field whose deeply personal performances yield nothing to those of the genre's more famous practitioners. As on O Brother, Where Art Thou?, life and death, love and heartbreak, home and family are this collection's timeless themes. Lyrics get no more haunting than Buzz Busby & Leon Morris's "This World's No Place to Live," nor more beautiful and impeccably harmonized than East Virginia's poignant rendering of the traditional death ballad "Will the Roses Bloom Again?" That said, there are plenty of familiar names in the mix. Bela Fleck plays banjo on Tasty Licks' "Leavin'," Ricky Skaggs and Jerry Douglas are members of Boone Creek on a stirring treatment of Bill Monroe's "Dark as the Night" and later join the Allen Brothers on a 1978 cut, "Who Done It?" Allen Shelton's buoyant instrumental "Banjo Bounce" features the estimable Jesse McReynolds (a.k.a. the Jesse of bluegrass's beloved Jim & Jesse) on mandolin and Charlie Collins on guitar. Extra icing on the cake comes courtesy of traditionalist Hazel Dickens, who adds burnished, rootsy harmonies to a cut by Phyllis Boyens ("To Hell with the Land") and supports Alice Gerrard's lead vocal with a piercing tone on "Montana Cowboy." The progressive wing makes its statement via the powerhouse Tony Rice Unit (featuring Rice, Skaggs, Douglas, Sam Bush, and Todd Philips) and J. D. Crowe & the New South (with Emmylou Harris on board). In bluegrass, the circle has remained unbroken down through the ages, an assertion this dynamic album easily reinforces.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Rick Anderson
Like its companion volume (Bluegrass Mountain Style), this compilation offers 22 tracks of classic bluegrass culled from the enviably deep Rounder catalog, but unlike the other album, this one focuses mainly on strictly traditional material and performances, with only a couple of departures into progressive territory. There are great contributions from Joe Val & the New England Bluegrass Boys, whose "I Hear a Sweet Voice Calling" remains one of the most thrilling of a long list of brilliant performances from the Bailey Brothers to the the Lilly Brothers, whose "God Gave the Noah the Rainbow Sign" is presented here in a previously unreleased version. In this context, the Bluegrass Cardinals' relatively slick "Lorene" and Allen Shelton's rockabilly-flavored "Banjo Bounce" both sound a bit out of place, but not in a bad way. As with Bluegrass Mountain Style, this one should probably be sold at mid-price, but there's no arguing with the quality of the material.

Product Details

Release Date:
Rounder / Umgd


  1. Leavin'
  2. Dark as the Night
  3. The Old Swinging Bridge  -  Southern Mountain Boys
  4. I Hear a Sweet Voice Calling
  5. Sally Goodin
  6. Cabin on a Mountain
  7. Lorene
  8. I'm Leaving Detroit  -  Southern Grass
  9. To Hell With the Land
  10. Sleepy-Eyed John
  11. Letters Have No Arms
  12. This World's No Place to Live In (But It's Home)
  13. Home Is Where the Heart Is
  14. Will the Roses Bloom Again?
  15. Montana Cowboy  - Alice Gerrard
  16. Banjo Bounce
  17. Midnight on the Stormy Deep
  18. God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign
  19. Who Done It?  -  Allen Brothers
  20. Heaven @@Bailey Brothers & The Happy Valley Boys  -  Bailey Brothers
  21. Crying Holy
  22. Orange Blossom Special

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Russ Barenberg   Guitar
Norman Blake   Guitar
Bluegrass Cardinals   Track Performer
Boone Creek   Track Performer
Jerry Douglas   Dobro
Johnson Mountain Boys   Band
Lilly Brothers   Track Performer
David Parmley   Guitar,Vocals
Tony Rice   Guitar,Vocals
Ricky Skaggs   Fiddle,Mandolin,Baritone (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal)
Tony Trischka   Banjo
Sam Bush   Guitar,Mandolin,Violin
Emmylou Harris   Baritone (Vocal)
Frank Wakefield   Mandolin
Pete Wernick   Banjo
Hazel Dickens   Bass,Tenor (Vocal)
Mike Seeger   Mandolin
Jim Brock   Bass,Fiddle
John Miller   Bass
Tasty Licks   Track Performer
Harold Smith   Mandolin
Todd Phillips   Bass
Allen Shelton   Banjo
Don Stover   Banjo,Baritone (Vocal)
Allen Brothers   Track Performer
East Virginia   Track Performer
Leon Morris   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Ted Lundy   Banjo,Vocals
Butch Robins   Banjo,Track Performer
Blaine Sprouse   Fiddle
Country Cooking   Band
Phyllis Boyens   Vocals
Jesse McReynolds   Mandolin
Don Parmley   Banjo,Vocals
Jack Tottle   Mandolin,Vocals
Vern Williams   Mandolin,Vocals,Track Performer
Bob Paisley   Guitar,Vocals,Tenor (Vocal)
Joe Val   Mandolin,Vocals
Harley Allen   Guitar,Tenor (Vocal)
Terry Baucom   Fiddle,Baritone (Vocal)
Warren Blair   Fiddle
Dudley Connell   Guitar
Kenny Kosek   Fiddle
J.D. Crowe   Banjo,Baritone (Vocal)
Buddy Davis   Mandolin,Vocals
Pat Enright   Rhythm Guitar,Tenor (Vocal)
Ed Ferris   Bass
Béla Fleck   Banjo,Baritone (Vocal)
Alice Gerrard   Guitar,Vocals
Wesley Golding   Guitar,Vocals
Lamar Grier   Banjo
Earl Grigsby   Bass
Eric Levenson   Bass
Everett Lilly   Mandolin,Vocals
Keith Little   Banjo,Vocals
Jerry Lundy   Fiddle
David McLaughlin   Mandolin
Frank Necessary   Banjo,Vocals
Ed Neff   Fiddle
Dan Paisley   Guitar,Vocals
Mark Schatz   Bass
Tracy Schwarz   Fiddle
Bobby Slone   Bass
Dick Staber   Mandolin,Baritone (Vocal)
Steve Stephenson   Rhythm Guitar,Vocals
Randy Stewart   Banjo
Eddie Stubbs   Fiddle
Clarence "Tater" Tate   Fiddle
James "Son" Thomas   Bass
Kevin Thompson   Acoustic Bass
Richard Underwood   Banjo
Delbert Williams   Guitar,Vocals
Earl Yager   Bass
Randy Graham   Mandolin,Vocals
Bea Lilly   Guitar,Tenor (Vocal)
Larry Robbins   Bass
Joe Drumright   Banjo,Mandolin
Charlie Bailey   Mandolin,Vocals
Danny Bailey   Guitar,Vocals,Tenor (Vocal)
Buzz Busby   Mandolin,Vocals
Harold Smith & the Majestics   Mandolin
Joe Val & The New England Bluegrass Boys   Track Performer
Tony Rice Unit   Track Performer
John Davis   Bass
Charlie Collins   Guitar
John Haftl   Mandolin,Baritone (Vocal)
Dave Dillon   Guitar,Vocals
English P. Jr. "Jake" Tullock   Bass,Fiddle
Paul Silvius   Banjo,Vocals
Connie Gately   Guitar,Baritone (Vocal)
Fred Gately   Bass
Bebe Lofton   Guitar,Tenor (Vocal)
Leroy Mumma   Fiddle
Wes Rineer   Bass
Jimmy D. Brock   Bass
Ronnie Allen   Bass
Billy Baker   Fiddle
Charles A. Bailey   Mandolin,Vocals
Jones   Guitar,Vocals
Thayer Washer   Vocals
Red Roberts   Fiddle
Greg Allen   Banjo,Vocals

Technical Credits

Tony Rice   Arranger
Frank Wakefield   Arranger
A.P. Carter   Composer
Toby Mountain   Mastering
Ervin T. Rouse   Composer
Marion Post Wolcott   Cover Photo
Rainer Maria Rilke   Liner Notes,Author
Traditional   Composer
Harry Smith   Author

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