THE NASHVILLE BLUEGRASS BAND "Twenty Year Blues"
(Sugar Hill Records)
Good wine needs no bush, that thought pops up in our mind, while listening to The Nashville Bluegrass Band. It took the fans six years of patiently waiting before a new album was released, but then it came right on time for the twenty year jubilee of the band! Twenty years, what can happen altogether in a period like that?
Alan O'Bryant (banjo), Pat Enright (guitar) and Mike Compton (mandolin) were the founders, fiddler Stuart Duncan joined in 1985, the band changed bassists a few times until Dennis Crouch appeared on stage at the end of 2000. Various albums received a Grammy-nomination, that Award was presented to the band two times, together with a number of bluegrass awards. The musicians were never afraid to try unusual things, they performed together with a classical chamber orchestra, made music videos, worked in the studio with all kinds of artists, from Johnny Cash to Maura O'Connell and The Fairfield Four, played in Carnegie Hall and across the whole world, including China, Bangladesh and Iraq. Then there's still their film work: Pat, Stuart and Mike played as The Soggy Bottom Boys on the "O Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack, Pat was also the yodel voice of actor John Turturro. After that the band participated in the "Down From The Mountain" and "Great High Mountain" tours.
The title of this album, recorded at Alan's home, is their only reference to the milestone, they didn't do anything else to celebrate... We hear music measuring up to the highest standards: instrumentals, beautifully sung tracks of John Hartford & Bill Monroe ("Old Riverman") and Jimmie Rodgers ("Gambling Barroom Blues"), something a-capella even and new songs ("Luckiest Man Alive"). Congratulations on such a jubilee, gentlemen!
Written by Johanna J. Bodde, Dutch original of this review previously published on Real Roots Cafe, The Netherlands.