Amazon.com essential recording
The Country Gentlemen saw bluegrass through some sea changes. One of the first groups to include rock and pop elements in their songs, they also deepened the music's appeal to urban coffeehouse and college audiences. The resulting sound remains influential even as their generation has become bluegrass music's elder statesmen. This double-disc retrospective from Rebel Records gives an admirable overview of what made the Gentleman so consistently innovative and exciting throughout their musical chair-lineup changes, which included at one time or another everyone from Charlie Waller, Doyle Lawson, and Bill Emerson to John Duffey, Eddie Adcock, and Ricky Skaggs. Appropriately enough for the first "progressive" bluegrass band, the song selection ranges from rock and folk covers like Bob Dylan's "Girl from the North Country" and CSN's "Teach Your Children" to lonesome bluegrass classics like Ralph Stanley's "The Fields Have Turned Brown."