Country, bluegrass and virtuosity…
Bryan Sutton : Into My Own
If you’re like me, Bryan Sutton came onto your radar a while back when he was working as a guitar player backing up some bluegrass legend, most notably as a member of Ricky Skaggs’s Kentucky Thunder in the late ’90s. He was the one who was impressing with some serious guitar virtuosity. A decade or so, many accolades and a few solo albums later, it’s clear that Sutton, as his newest album states, has come into his own. The record is clean, classic bluegrass with great songwriting, plenty of instrumental breakdowns, sweet harmonies, highest-quality guests (Bill Frisell, Sam Bush, Ronnie McCoury, Stuart Duncan and more) and some of the best bluegrass guitar picking you’ll find today.
Tony Trischka : Great Big World
Speaking of superlative pickin’, if you’re looking for some sweet banjo playing, look no further than the legendary Tony Trischka. Tony’s one of those guys that’s been around forever, always blows you away, but still manages to float under the radar. His last few albums seem to show a more assertive style and his newest, Great Big World, is 13 tracks of lucky bluegrass perfection. Besides Trischka’s best-in-class banjo playing, the album is rife with a who’s who of acoustic music, from Steve Martin to Larry Campbell; Michael Daves to Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. The album is as far reaching and forward looking as it is traditional; covers, originals, classics, progressive melodies, harmonies, instrumentals…this one’s got it all, and then some.
Jenny Scheinman : The Littlest Prisoner
Rounding out our little trio is the master violin player Jenny Scheinman, a longtime favorite of mine. Jenny’s musical origins are in the jazz world, but lately she’s been scratching her country music itch with what she calls her “singing” songs. Her newest foray into the singing world is The Littlest Prisoner, on which she sounds as good as ever. There is a beauty, love and warmth in these songs and her voice that I surmise comes from her becoming a mother of, now, two little “prisoners.” While this isn’t instrumental music, Scheinman doesn’t totally abandon her violin, and is joined in mostly a trio by two more virtuosos in Bill Frisell on guitar and Brian Blade on drums, this just might be the most talented country threesome every assembled. A perfect album through and through.
Written By: Aaron Stein
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