Within the world of bluegrass there are the true believers who only want the true vine and the truth dealt up in the proper way. Sometimes pretenders who are good country singers make an album and try to pawn it off as bluegrass. But any real fan knows the difference. Here, we have a fine country album, far better than any of the pablum that passes for modern country music, from a singer who is much better than one is apt to hear on contemporary country radio. But what it ain’t is bluegrass. Sure there is some banjo, but that does not make it bluegrass.
A whiskey warm voice with a smooth, world-weary delivery make this a highly listenable recording. Even the presence of five Shawn Camp songs does not make it bluegrass. It does, however, make it some mighty fine listening. We have the likes of Mark Fain on bass, Aubrey Haynie on fiddle and mandolin, and Rob Ickes on resonator guitar. Seth Taylor plays guitar, banjo, and mandolin as well. Wright plays rhythm guitar.
The two main ingredients that make this project work so well are Wright’s vocals and the wealth of great songs that make it up. “Old Man From The Mountain,” a Merle Haggard gem, shows up as does Lowell George’s “Dixie Chicken” to wrap it up. All of the songs are above average and the arrangements show them off well. There is thankfully, a lack of the heavy-handed production values that diminish so much that comes out of Nashville today. If you like good acoustic country music, this is a gem that stands well with other bluegrass recordings by those in the industry they call “country.” (www.officialcurtiswright.com)RCB