IIIrd Tyme Out’s predictably first-rate new album might have been subtitled Love And Geography since several of the stand-out songs poignantly address themes of love and physical separation. Willis Alan Ramsey’s “Goodbye Old Missoula,” Milan Miller’s “Pretty Little Girl From Galax,” Milan Miller’s and Adam Wright’s “Little Magnolia,” Billy Smith’s and Bill Gordh’s “Whippoorwill,” and Mark Abramson’s and Paul Austin’s “If Your Heart Should Ever Roll This Way Again” all deal in different ways with romantic longing and geographical distance.
There’s obviously not much distance among the five members of this band, even though somewhere in the course of twenty years and sixteen albums, IIIrd Tyme Out became Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. Undoubtedly, there were practical reasons for the name change, yet in the context of the music on Prime Tyme, there’s not a hint of any sort of ego-tripping on Moore’s part.
Time and time again—as on the last and perhaps best of these 14 tracks, Ronnie Bowman’s and Michael Garris’s deeply moving “What’s The World Coming To”—Moore subsumes his remarkable vocal gifts to the overall musical tapestry provided by his four very talented bandmates: Steve Dilling (banjo and harmony vocals), Wayne Benson (mandolin), Justen Haynes (fiddle and harmony vocals), and Edgar Loudermilk (upright bass and harmony vocals). (Rural Rhythm, P.O. Box 750, Mt. Juliet, TN 37121, www.ruralrhythm.com.) BA