McCoury Music/Preservation Hall Recordings
Dixieland meets bluegrass: Right off the bat, the fact that both use banjo comes to mind. But imagining the result of such a union isn’t easy.
There’s been no shortage of jam bands in the post-Grateful Dead era: Blues Traveler, Phish, moe., String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee and Widespread Panic, as well as countless “newgrass” groups including Railroad Earth, Yonder Mountain String Band and Blueground Undergrass.
If Warners Bros. Records were still around — that is, the late-1960s/early ’70s version that nurtured artists and allowed them to experiment and evolve unfettered by corporate formulas and quotas — the Black Crowes no doubt would be on it.
Sound of the Slide Guitar
This is the second solo album for Hall, resonator guitarist (dobroist) for emerging “new” bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters. Recorded mostly live in the studio, it boasts eight instrumental and three vocal tracks, on which Hall sings lead. He plays a mahogany Meredith resonator, a 1929 National squareneck Style 2 Tricone, a Bear Creek Hawaiian and a koa Harper resonator.
Eight of the album’s tracks are originals, including the vocal number “One More Moment Here With You”; he also sings on “Deep Elem Blues” and Mark Simos’ “Fresh Flowers.” The third cover song is Norman Blake’s instrumental “Green Light on the Southern/Bony Crossing the Alps.”
There’s much to like on this album, for bluegrass fans and nonfans. Standouts include speed-pickin’ numbers “Velocity” and “The Chase,” as well as dobro duet “Circle the Sun,” mandolin duet “C-Bops (Special Ops)” and the unaccompanied Blake cover.
Lending their support are guitarists David Grier and Tim Stafford; fellow dobro player Rob Ickes; banjoist Noam Pikelny; drummer Tom Giampietro; and Hall’s fellow Stringdusters.
1. Resurrection Bay
2. The Chase
3. Paples Blues
4. Circle The Sun
5. Deep Elem Blues
7. Fresh Flowers
8. C-Bops (Special Ops)
9. Always You
10. One More Moment Here With You
11. Green Light On The Southern/Bony Crossing The Alps
In their previous incarnation, experimental bluegrass outfit BGUG had a six-piece lineup that included pedal steel. But the group broke up in 2002 after four years and three albums, leaving peers Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth and the now-defunct Leftover Salmon to kick out the jams.