Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Country, Pop
Many of us couldn't wait to bash Skaggs upon his 1997 return to roots, Bluegrass Rules! Poor Ricky, sniffle, couldn't record his beloved bluegrass for a dozen years because of, sob, "contractual obligations." Of course, Bl... more »
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Many of us couldn't wait to bash Skaggs upon his 1997 return to roots, Bluegrass Rules! Poor Ricky, sniffle, couldn't record his beloved bluegrass for a dozen years because of, sob, "contractual obligations." Of course, Bluegrass Rules! turned out to be an explosive record, and as usual, Skaggs had redeemed himself on the sheer basis of his talent. The 1999 follow-up, Ancient Tones, is a worthy sequel, as Skaggs and his stellar Kentucky Thunder band (with Stuart Duncan and Jerry Douglas helping out) continue to pray at the feet of the gods--Monroe and Stanley--in fresh and exciting ways. The arrangements are more ambitious and in general more subtle than on Bluegrass Rules! but are no less rewarding. Skaggs's own vocals scale new heights, especially on the chilling a cappella introduction to the eight-minute "Little Bessie," which then adds bodhran and harp as if to illustrate bluegrass' connection to its Celtic roots. Maybe we'll get to bash him yet, but certainly not this time around. --Marc Greilsamer
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Crack band, predictable songs
Jerome Clark | Canby, Minnesota | 03/23/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ricky Skaggs is a bluegrass master, and Kentucky Thunder, along with the Del McCoury Band, is as fine an ensemble as currently works in the genre. And Ancient Tones (great title) is a good album, with the occasional memorable moment. How you feel about it, however, ultimately depends on how much bluegrass you've already heard -- in other words, on how much you really want to hear Bill Monroe and Stanley Brothers warhorses yet again. This CD is full of them, all crisply executed but all too familiar. What Skaggs and his band need are new songs (even if they're old ones: traditional mountain ballads or neglected compositions from bluegrass' earlier days). To this longtime listener the high points -- high ones indeed -- are Jim Mills's "Coal Minin' Man," Billy Joe Foster's "Give Us Rain," and Skaggs's deeply felt version of the American folk song "Little Bessie," with lyrics few listeners will have heard before. If he had a CD full of material of this quality, he'd have the masterpiece this could have been. Maybe next time."
One of his best.
debbie-n-va | 07/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have always been a devoted follower of Ricky Skaggs. I think he has one of the best and purest voices in the business. I really thought this was an oustanding CD. He puts so much heart and soul into his singing and playing. The harmonies in the songs on this CD were fantastic. I'm a bit of a "traditionalist" too when it comes to bluegrass music so I enjoyed the Ricky's renditions of the old songs on this CD. Agreed, Ricky's accapella voice will bring tears to your eyes on "Little Bessie". I think the entire CD is a masterpiece, and I usually do not like every cut on a CD but this was an exception. I just hope Ricky keeps producing gems like Ancient Tones. I have yet to buy Bluegrass Rules so I know I'm in for a treat. I do have his bluegrass gospel CD "Soldier of the Cross" which rarely ever leaves my CD player."
Pure and perfect
debbie-n-va | 10/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having traveled many miles going to bluegrass festivals in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, I have heard some great music. And the wonderful thing about the festivals, it doesn't have to be the headline stars that are so good, sometimes the "parking lot pickers" are just as enjoyable. But back to this, I love Ricky Skaggs, I love him for continuing to follow a narrow path that he has chosen in the music business. that takes a lot of guts, especially when all the glory goes to the hat acts."