One of bluegrass music's top ten releases in 2006
J. Ross | Roseburg, OR USA | 12/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Playing Time - 71:47 (CD#1); 68:37 (CD#2) -- It's easy to see how this 2-CD album has become one of bluegrass music's top ten releases in 2006. Drawing material recorded live at the 2000-2005 Musicians Against Childhood Cancer (MACC) Festival in Columbus, Ohio, the project was inspired by executive producer and musician Darrel Adkins. He and his wife Phyllis' beautiful 22-year-old daughter, Mandy, lost her battle to cancer (brain cell tumor) in 2000. The non-profit MACC was formed, and the festival was launched to raised funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tn. where treatment is dispensed for children with terminal illness. Volunteering to play the July festival, 136 artists are featured here. Most all of the big names in bluegrass are featured - Rhonda Vincent, Grascals, Keeny & Amanda Smith Band, Wildfire, Lost & Found, Larry Stephenson Band, Cherryholmes, Doyle Lawson, Tony Rice, J.D. Crowe, 3 Fox Drive, Marty Raybon, Blue Highway, Alecia Nugent, Lonesome River Band, Seldom Scene, and many more. Liner notes clearly lay out the pickers and singers on each song.
There are some entertaining pickup groups featured too. A 7-minute version of "Freeborn Man" features Dan Tyminski, Tony Rice, Bela Fleck, Doyle Lawson and Barry Bales. Of similar length, a bluegrass instrumental version of Gershwin's "Summertime" stars Bryan Sutton, David Talbot, Ashby Frank, Terry Smith, Aubrey Haynie and Randy Kohrs. Tony Rice introduces and dedicates his 11-minute solo and reflective rendition of "Shenandoah," with a declaration that "every musician is right here exactly where we are supposed to be doing this."
This album has a ton of first-rate and captivating variety from the bluegrass community, but I took special note of each and every song that conveyed sentiments that could be construed as tributes to the memory and inspiration of Mandy Adkins. Alan Bibey made a point of dedicating his own "Side by Side" to Mandy. As Kenny & Amanda Smith sing, "I know this love will last forever, I know where loves lives, someday we'll always be together, living in Him." Kudos to Jack Campitelli and Bob Kelley for a fine job of recording, mixing and mastering the 37-tracks of absorbing music without any significant audience applause or background noise. Mandy would be very gratified by the result, and bluegrass music and this festival will just grow even stronger. Why? In "The Healing Kind" written by himself and Greg Luck, Ronnie Bowman sings "the pain just grows stronger everyday, I think of you and I'm on my way, down memory lane with your hand in mine, `cuz I'm just not the healing kind." (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)
One fantastic CD set!
R. Rahberg | Topeka KS | 11/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this only because it won the IBMA Album of the Year award for 2006, and being a bluegrass musician,I thought it sounded like a pretty good lineup of music. Man oh man, was I ever right! This is one fantastic collection of musicians and songs! If you like bluegrass music at all, run--don't walk--and get this CD set!"