Brand New Strings

Brand New Strings

by Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
4.0 1


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Brand New Strings

Apropos of the title, bluegrass stalwart Ricky Skaggs joins fresh ideas with a reverence for tradition and his abiding spirituality on Brand New Strings, one of his deepest, most exciting albums. The title song is a case in point: A classic-styled barn burner, it tells the story of a blues picker transformed by love, a makeover reflected in his ebullient playing. Rebecca Lynn Howard joins Skaggs on record for the first time, adding some jubilant harmonies, and electricity makes a dramatic entrance with guitarist Johnny Hyland's fleet-fingered, white-hot solo near the end. Similarly, Skaggs draws on shimmering electric guitar chords to spice up the acoustic arrangement on "If I Had It All Again to Do," a thoughtful reflection on family and the ties that bind. Skaggs' philosophy and faith have rarely been more effectively expressed than in the lilting, harmony-rich "Love Does It Every Time," an account of miracles born of faith, its message heightened by church bells, gut-string guitar, and affecting harmonies by Skaggs and his wife, Sharon White. The same is true for "My Father's Son," a moving, rhythmically rich confessional pointing out that "the highest laws are written / on the hearts of honest men." But what would a Ricky Skaggs album be without Bill Monroe? Here Mr. Bill is represented by "Sally Jo," Doug and Rusty Kershaw's folktale of a faithless femme -- a song that Monroe immortalized -- and Skaggs' sprightly, self-penned instrumental "Monroe Dancin'." Designed to move the spirit and the body, Brand New Strings makes easy work of both.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/28/2004
Label: Skaggs Family
UPC: 0669890100629
catalogNumber: 901006
Rank: 14666

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder   Primary Artist
Ricky Skaggs   Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals,Gut String Guitar,Soloist,Claw Hammer Banjo,Hi String Guitar (Acoustic),Vocal Harmony,Papoose
Sam Bacco   Percussion,Bells,Spoons
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle
Jim Mills   Banjo,Soloist
Sharon White   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Darrin Vincent   Vocal Harmony
Cody Kilby   Banjo,Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Soloist
Mark Fain   Bass,Bowed Bass
Paul Brewster   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Bryan Sutton   Guitar
Keith Sewell   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Rebecca Lynn Howard   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Mike Snyder   Claw Hammer Banjo
Jeff Taylor   Accordion
Andy Leftwich   Mandolin
Johnny Hyland   Electric Guitar
Tim Laure   Accordion,Portative Organ
Molly Skaggs   Dulcimer
Jeff Taylor   Accordion

Technical Credits

Ricky Skaggs   Composer,Engineer,Audio Production
Doug Kershaw   Composer
Guy Clark   Composer
Mel Tillis   Composer
Rusty Kershaw   Composer
John Wiggins   Composer
Harley Allen   Composer
Shawn Camp   Composer
Brent King   Engineer
Don Rollins   Composer
Bobby Terry   Composer
Lee Groitzsch   Engineer
Steve Leslie   Composer
Keith Sewell   Composer
Rupert Neve   Design Engineer
Tony Mullins   Composer
Tommy Conners   Composer
Shawn Lane   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Brand New Strings 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's a tricky balance to keep a traditional form from turning into a dormant shelf decoration. On the one hand, you need to keep to the tradition's roots, but on the other, you can't follow your forbearer's paths so closely that you do nothing more than wear ruts into the ground. Skaggs continues to successfully navigate this skyline path by matching top-notch instrumental skills and elements of traditional bluegrass arrangements with newly penned songs and inflections that expand upon the foundation laid down by Monroe, Stanley and others. ¶ Skaggs' latest release actively seeks out contemporary material from some of country music's finest writers, including Guy Clark, Shawn Camp and Skaggs himself. At their heart, these songs share a thematic sensibility with the bluegrass classics, and when given over to Kentucky Thunder's traditional fiddle, banjo, guitar and mandolin - not to mention the tight harmonies of Skaggs, Paul Brewster, Darren Vincent, and Rebecca Lynn Howard - the result is truly 21st century bluegrass. ¶ These studio productions don't generate the high-voltage band interplay found on the live performances like 2003's "Live at the Charleston Music Hall," though a few spark up some hot picking, such as Keith Sewell's title track, and several instrumentals penned by Skaggs. The latter's vocals are especially moving a pair of Shawn Lane tunes, "Why Did I Wait So Long?" and "If I Had it All Again To Do." No doubt the newer tunes waxed here will mix nicely with the classics as the band takes them out on the road.