Can there be too much of a good thing? If the question is about collaboration between American roots music hero Jim Lauderdale and legendary lyricist Robert Hunter, the answer's an emphatic "no!" Marking the former's debut on the respected Sugar Hill Records label, Reason and Rhyme makes a compelling case for the continued vitality of the Lauderdale--Hunter partnership--and for Lauderdale's unique and deeply satisfying approach to bluegrass. "This one's back to total bluegrass," Lauderdale says of the collaborative follow-up to 2010's electric Patchwork River, and so it's no surprise that it features many of the musicians involved in previous bluegrass efforts like Could We Get Any Closer (2009) and 2007's Grammy®-winning The Bluegrass Diaries. The close-knit crew, headed up by producer and resonator guitarist Randy Kohrs, is perfectly in tune with Lauderdale's 'grass-with-a-twist sensibilities, and whether it's a return buddy like bassist Jay Weaver or new colleague Mike Compton (mandolin), each player delivers mightily with the genre's characteristic virtuosity and emotional fire.