Double Stop Music
This is a 22-cut fiddle extravaganza featuring solid array of guests. But Berline demonstrates quickly he can do it alone on the fine “Byron In The Highlands,” one of the many great original tunes included here. Berline tackles not only the repertory of bluegrass with “Cattle In The Cane,” “Denver Belle” from Kenny Baker, “Hamilton County Breakdown,” and Howdy Forrester’s “Wild Fiddler’s Rag,” but he also reminds us of his Southwestern fiddling roots with pieces like “Cotton Patch Rag” and Bob Wills’ “Twinkle Little Star.” He demonstrates consummate swing chops in several places but his take on the old swing number “Charmaine” make one realize he probably could have made a living playing in cabarets. There are three tunes here from Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith (“Red Apple Rag,” “Peacock Rag,” and “Walking In My Sleep”) and a whole host of original tunes that capture some diverse influences from Celtic to swing and rags to lovely waltzes and hoedowns.
Throughout the project, the band changes between the two locations, Oklahoma and Los Angeles, where these recordings took place. With no less than Alan Munde, Jens Krüger, Bill Emerson, and John Hickman, taking turns on banjo, and the likes of David Grier who plays guitar on the original tune, “Sweet Pickle Rag,” the list of guest musicians is as long as they are accomplished. This is a treasure trove of fine fiddling that ought to appeal to all fans of fiddle music and great instrumental bluegrass. (Double Stop Music, 121 E. Oklahoma, Guthrie, OK 73044.)RCB