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The Band: Live at the Academy of Music 1971

Levon Helm: Ramble at the Ryman

The Band: Three of a Kind

Robbie Robertson: How to Become Clairvoyant

Garth Hudson Presents a Canadian Celebration of The Band

Levon Helm: Electric Dirt

Garth and Maud Hudson: Live at the Wolf

Pulse

Dirt Farmer

Elliot Landy's Woodstock Vision

John Lawless: Five & Dime

[cover art]

[CD cover]

Instrumental bluegrass albums are a rarity, which seems odd when you consider that most bluegrass players -- like jazz performers -- are virtuosos. That rarity is what makes banjoist John Lawless' Five & Dime so special. Yes, there are a couple vocal tracks, and they're solid enough, but the real treat here is the instrumental dexterity of the musicians. Lawless is joined by great pickers like mandolinist Alan Bibey, guitarists Kenny Smith and Tim Stafford, Dobroist Rob Ickes, and fiddler Ron Stewart. Most of the material has been written by Lawless, and he maintains a fine line between traditional bluegrass and its more contemporary counterpart. A spunky piece like "On the Bean," for instance, moves along at a happy, free-rolling pace, reminding one of recent work by bands like New Grange. "The Guilty Pig's" fiddle/banjo lineup, on the other hand, is reminiscent of the type of music one might have heard at a house party in Appalachia before the advent of sound recording. Finally, there's a piece like "How R Ya Waltz," which -- being a waltz -- is in a category all by itself. Lawless is a fine picker who expands the banjo's normal range with his ability to play in a distinctive single-note style and his willingness to add odds and ends like bits of the blues. The vocals, while not the main course here, are equally enjoyable, with unusual choices like Robbie Robertson's "Twilight" and the Doobie Brothers' "Listen to the Music." Five & Dime will be a real treat for anyone who enjoys well-played acoustic music.
-- Ronnie D. Lankford Jr., All-Music Guide

Tracks

  1. Cemetery Ridge
  2. Twilight MPEG file
  3. Daddy Rabbit
  4. On the Bean
  5. Guilty Pig
  6. How R Ya Waltz
  7. Listen to the Music
  8. Ben & Ginger
  9. None Finer
  10. Hillsville
  11. Baby Girl
  12. Nine 4 Nine
  13. Up All Night

John Lawless - Five & Dime - 2004 - Copper Creek 224


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