This compilation album reads like a who's-who of the progressive bluegrass/new acoustic music movement: pros like mandolinist David Grisman
, guitarist Tony Rice
, dobro player Jerry Douglas
and a pre-Flecktones Bela Fleck
are all represented, as well as the (very) young Alison Krauss
and many, many others.
Though most of the guns are big, some of the album's best moments come from artists who were relative unknowns at the time of its release: the Whitstein Brothers
offer a classic guitar-mandolin duo number in the pre-war style of the Blue Sky Boys
; Krauss delivers two modern bluegrass gems in a voice as bright and pure as an icicle melting in the sun. The album's highlight, though, is the rendition of "Old Home Place" by J.D. Crowe and the New South. It's a chestnut, all right, but the combination of Crowe's driving banjo and the ringing, bittersweet blend of Tony Rice
and Ricky Skaggs' voices will make your hair stand on end every time you hear it. This album belongs on every bluegrass fan's desert island list.