by Chuck Dauphin
Alan Jackson has made no secret about his love of Bluegrass Music over the years. In the 1990s, his version of “Seven Bridges Road” was a highlight of his live show – done in classic Bluegrass style. Finally, after all these years, Jackson has decided to release an album in that laid back style.
As you might expect, the Georgia native had no trouble attracting some of the genre’s finest musicians to back him on the project, such as Scott Coney (acoustic guitar), Sammy Shelor (banjo), Adam Steffey (mandolin), Tim Crouch (fiddle), Tim Dishman (bass), Rob Ickes (dobro) and Ronnie Bowman and Don Rigsby (vocals). They help to make the record a sonic delight.
But, the disc would not work unless the songs weren’t there. And, as usual, Jackson’s pen provides some of the highlights here, with “Blacktop,” “Tie Me Down” and “Mary” all helping to prove this was worth the wait. Adam Wright, Jackson’s nephew, contributed two of the strongest new tracks on the disc, “Ain’t Got Trouble,” and “Knew All Along,” co-written with wife Shannon.
He does tip the covers hat on three occasions, with a gorgeous version of John Anderson’s “Wild And Blue,” the Dillards’ “There Is A Time,” and he closes out with a reverential treatment of Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon Of Kentucky.” As good as this disc is, it already makes me anxious for Volume 2!
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