Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. 3

( 4 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Three decades after their landmark bluegrass and old-time country celebration, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, the concept remains not only viable but, in the wake of O Brother, Where Art Thou?'s runaway success, as timely as ever. The ongoing projects seem limited only by the depth of the roots music well from which the band draw -- and by the sound of this third expansive installment, that's a mighty deep spring. Vol. III embraces the blues a bit more directly than did the first two volumes, primarily via Taj Mahal, who turns in another winning performance of his timeless "Fishing Blues" and a stirring trio rendition of the title track with Alison Krauss and Doc Watson. ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Three decades after their landmark bluegrass and old-time country celebration, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, the concept remains not only viable but, in the wake of O Brother, Where Art Thou?'s runaway success, as timely as ever. The ongoing projects seem limited only by the depth of the roots music well from which the band draw -- and by the sound of this third expansive installment, that's a mighty deep spring. Vol. III embraces the blues a bit more directly than did the first two volumes, primarily via Taj Mahal, who turns in another winning performance of his timeless "Fishing Blues" and a stirring trio rendition of the title track with Alison Krauss and Doc Watson. The collection also pulls in Tom Petty from the rock world for a duet with Willie Nelson on Leadbelly's "Goodnight Irene." Otherwise, Vol. III is a lot about family, literally: Doc Watson is here with his grandson Richard Watson; Del McCoury brings some bristling bluegrass to the party along with his sons Ronnie and Robbie; co-producer Randy Scruggs' visionary father, Earl, is featured on two cuts, including the Carter Family's "Diamonds in the Rough," on which he accompanies June Carter Cash, whose husband, Johnny, closes out the first disc with a new song, one of the best he's ever written. The hymnlike "Tears on the Holston River" is a moving, poetic account of the death of Maybelle and Sara Carter, set in the shadow of Clinch Mountain, with Cash's ragged, rugged voice revealing sadness, not to mention love and respect, over the passing of these matriarchs. Reveling in bluegrass, blues, gospel, hard country, and folk blues, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band -- along with a host of big-name pals, including Vassar Clements, Jimmy Martin, Dwight Yoakam, Matraca Berg, Emmylou Harris, and Iris Dement -- once again bring together the past and the present without a hitch. This circle not only remains unbroken, it keeps getting stronger.
All Music Guide - Robert L. Doerschuk
Like a comet that periodically returns and lights up the sky, the Will the Circle Be Unbroken series manages to be predictable and illuminating at the same time. Once again, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band draws an assembly of deities and wannabes around the campfire. Some of these are familiar, though veterans from the first volume have grown scarce: Doc Watson plays "I Am a Pilgrim" as a tribute to the late Merle Travis, who cut the same tune on the 1972 Circle session. Jimmy Martin returns too, his galloping, almost-reckless delivery undimmed by the years. From the 1989 sequel comes Johnny Cash, whose "Tears in the Holston River" eulogizes Maybelle Carter, his mother-in-law and the soul of the first Circle. New faces take the place of those who have departed: Willie Nelson is a logical addition, though his duet partner, Tom Petty, sounds uncomfortable and awkward on "Goodnight, Irene." Emmylou Harris assumes her place in this pantheon, her voice breaking hearts even in harmony with Matraca Berg on "Oh, Cumberland." No performance stands out more than that of Taj Mahal, whose presence has a demographic significance and whose rollicking rendition of "Fishin' Blues" nearly steals the show. But Mahal also contributes to the album's only serious blemish: On the inevitable title cut, he and the other soloists play with a solemnity that deletes the song's communal energies. A congregational enthusiasm distinguished its performance on the first album; here, the singers -- particularly Alison Krauss -- pass it along, verse by verse, as if it were priceless china. This music is about soul, not trepidation, so it's to everyone's credit that such moments are scarce here. Let's hope that they don't dress it up with string samples or breakbeats once Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. 4 rolls around.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/1/2002
  • Label: Capitol
  • UPC: 724354017704
  • Catalog Number: 40177
  • Sales rank: 4,926

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Take Me in Your Lifeboat - Ronnie McCoury (3:41)
  2. 2 Milk Cow Blues - Josh Graves & Doc Watson (5:04)
  3. 3 I Find Jesus (3:54)
  4. 4 Hold Whatcha Got - Jimmy Martin (2:55)
  5. 5 Mama's Opry - Iris DeMent (4:23)
  6. 6 Diamonds in the Rough - June Carter Cash (3:39)
  7. 7 Lonesome River (4:23)
  8. 8 Some Dark Holler - Dwight Yoakam (3:19)
  9. 9 The Lowlands - Jonathan McEuen (3:50)
  10. 10 Love, Please Come Home - Ronnie McCoury (2:49)
  11. 11 Goodnight Irene - Tom Petty (4:30)
  12. 12 I Know What It Means to Be Lonesome (3:49)
  13. 13 I'll Be Faithful to You - The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band & Emmylou Harris (2:33)
  14. 14 Tears in the Holston River (4:14)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Fishin' Blues - Vassar Clements (4:32)
  2. 2 Save It, Save It - Jimmy Martin (1:58)
  3. 3 Wheels - Dwight Yoakam (3:16)
  4. 4 Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms (3:56)
  5. 5 Oh Cumberland (4:22)
  6. 6 I Am a Pilgrim - Richard Watson (4:09)
  7. 7 Sallie Ann (2:38)
  8. 8 Catfish John - The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band & Alison Krauss (4:07)
  9. 9 Roll the Stone Away (4:10)
  10. 10 All Prayed Up - Vince Gill (3:10)
  11. 11 Return to Dismal Swamp, Pt. 2 - Ronnie McCoury (3:18)
  12. 12 There Is a Time (3:33)
  13. 13 Will the Circle Be Unbroken - Doc Watson (4:39)
  14. 14 Farther Along - Randy Scruggs (6:03)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Primary Artist
Taj Mahal Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Rodney Dillard Guitar, Vocals
Jerry Douglas Dobro
Josh Graves Dobro
Alison Krauss Fiddle, Vocals
Del McCoury Guitar, Vocals
Tony Rice Guitar
Earl Scruggs Banjo, Guitar
Ricky Skaggs Mandolin, Vocals
Matraca Berg Guitar, Vocals, Vocal Harmony
Sam Bush Mandolin, Vocals
Johnny Cash Guitar, Vocals
Emmylou Harris Guitar, Vocals, Vocal Harmony
Willie Nelson Guitar, Vocals
Doc Watson Guitar, Vocals
Dwight Yoakam Guitar, Vocals
Iris DeMent Guitar, Vocals
Tom Petty Guitar, Vocals
Glen Duncan Fiddle
Ray Martin Mandolin, Vocal Harmony
John McEuen Banjo, Mandolin, Vocal Harmony
Mike Compton Mandolin
Mickey Raphael Harmonica
Barry Bales Upright Bass
Bob Carpenter Accordion, Vocals, Vocal Harmony
June Carter Cash Vocals, Autoharp (Hammered)
Vassar Clements Fiddle
Dennis Crouch Upright Bass
Dan Dugmore Dobro
Stuart Duncan Fiddle
Pat Enright Guitar, Vocals
Jimmie Fadden Harmonica, Snare Drums, Vocal Harmony
Vince Gill Guitar, Vocals
Jeff Hanna Guitar, Mandolin, Accordion, Vocals, Washboard, national steel guitar, Vocal Harmony
Byron House Upright Bass
Jimmy Ibbotson Bouzouki, Guitar, Mandolin, Percussion, Vocals, Snare Drums, Vocal Harmony
Jimmy Martin Guitar, Vocals
Rob McCoury Banjo
Ronnie McCoury Mandolin
Alan O'Bryant Banjo
Randy Scruggs Banjo, Guitar
Glenn Worf Upright Bass
Richard Watson Guitar
Jaime Hanna Guitar, Stick, Vocals
David P. Jackson Upright Bass
Kevin Grant Upright Bass
Jonathan McEuen Guitar, Vocals
Technical Credits
Kokomo Arnold Composer
Lead Belly Composer
Lester Flatt Composer
Roy Acuff Composer
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Producer
Mother Maybelle Carter Composer
A.P. Carter Composer
Sara Carter Composer
Jimmie Fadden drum programming
Hop Wilson Composer
Jimmy Ibbotson Contributor, drum programming
John A. Lomax Composer
Ron Reynolds Engineer
Doug Sax Mastering
Randy Scruggs Arranger, Producer
M. Christian Composer
Denise Jarvis Producer
John Carter Cash Engineer
Robert Hadley Mastering
Public Domain Composer
Traditional Composer
Joanna Carter Art Direction
Michelle Hall Assistant Art Director
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Circle Continues

    This might be the most disjointed of the three Circle projects, but it is still enjoyable. Several of the performers have passed on since then, and their performances resonate. Tom Petty seems a bit out of place singing with Willie Nelson but doesn't really hurt anything. In short, this is still gentle, soulful alt country by the NGDB. Pick up all three albums if you don't have them and like Americana.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Who sings "The Lowlands"

    I haved enjoyed the few clips that I have heard from the CD, but especially the song "The Lowlands". Does anybody know who sings it please.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Another fine volume of roots and guests

    While this third volume couldn¿t possibly be the ground-breaking release that was 1972¿s initial "Circle," it wears the legacy well. Thirty years down-the-line, the Dirt Band are no longer the eager young turks of 1972, nor is this sort of inter-generational tribute to roots a new concept. In the decades since the first "Circle," what was once novel is now more commonplace, and though the familiarity doesn¿t lessen the quality or value of the music, it does lessen its impact. ¶ In addition to the Dirt Band, the first "Circle" is reprised in the playing and singing of Jimmy Martin, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson and Vassar Clements. Notably missing are Roy Acuff, Merle Travis and Mother Maybelle, though the latter two are celebrated in song -- Travis by Doc Watson¿s recitation of "I Am a Pilgrim," and Carter by Johnny Cash¿s newly-penned "Tears in the Holston River." ¶ The historical resonance that¿s been lost to the passing of legends is renewed by several family gatherings, including performances from Del, Robbie and Ronnie McCoury, Doc and Richard Watson, John and Jonathan McCuen (the former of whom only recently returned after an extended absence from the Dirt Band¿s lineup), Jeff and Jaime Hanna, and Jimmy and Ray Martin. The passing of the torch, first from Nashville¿s pioneers to a new generation, and now from that generation to it¿s children, shows the Circle to really be a link in a chain. ¶ The "new blood" on this volume features established stars like Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Vince Gill, Dwight Yoakam and Tom Petty. A few lesser-known (but no less talented) artists, Iris Dement and songwriter Matraca Berg, are joined by legends Taj Mahal, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. It¿s a fine lineup of talent, but their careers (often built directly in opposition to the Nashvillization of country music), not to mention their familiarity with the first two "Circle" volumes, lend this set a somewhat self-conscious air. ¶ Dwight Yoakam¿s tilled similar soil on his solo albums, consequently his contributions sound as much like Dwight Yoakam as they do back-to-the-roots "Circle" inventions (not that this is a bad thing, of course). Petty is mostly superfluous duetting with Willie Nelson on "Goodnight Irene," but Berg, who¿s best known for her songwriting (e.g., Deana Carter¿s "Strawberry Wine), gets a chance to show off a rootsy side that¿s only sporadically made it onto her solo efforts. Her duet with Emmylou Harris (on Berg¿s own "Oh Cumberland") is a highlight, as are Vince Gill¿s gospel "All Prayed Up" and Taj Mahal¿s "Fishin¿ Blues." ¶ In a year that¿s seen a deluxe reissue of the first "Circle" album, volume three can¿t help but pale slightly in comparison. But taken on its own, this is a fine album of singing and song, one that heeds (if not really expands upon) the first set¿s principles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    American Genius

    NGDB has put together a CD that captures true American music at its best.It manages to reach deep into the last century with timeless bluegrass, while touching the 21st century with a song called "Lowlands". Its hard to stop playing this treasure!

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