Jimmy Gaudreau

2:10 Train

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Technically, there was little one could fault with a progressive band like Chesapeake. One could never say that the band didn't have some of the best talent in bluegrass, or that the band didn't expand the genre into new terrains. The downside, however, was one of feeling: the music always sounded superb (as did the music of early progressive bands like the Seldom Scene and the New Grass Revival), but lacked the rustic grit that had put the "blue" in traditional bluegrass in the '40s and '50s. Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein, both members of the seminal band, have returned with a simplified approach to bluegrass and folk on 2:10 Train. The duo's format is straightforward, leaving the arrangements constant throughout: Klein sings lead and plays guitar, Gaudreau plays mandolin and sings harmony. The team tackle both traditional and fairly contemporary material, from "Shady Grove" to Tom Paxton's "The Last Thing on My Mind" to Harvey Reid's "Dreamer or Believer." As a result, 2:10 Train sounds much closer to tradition than Chesapeake's '90s work on Sugar Hill. Still, Klein and Gaudreau's work retains many of qualities that defined Chesapeake. Even with the stripped-down approach, rustic favorites like "Black Jack Davey" may strike some listeners as having the same disconnect with mountain soul as Chesapeake's work. Everything is beautifully played and sung on 2:10 Train and will please fans of both players. But for those who never cared for the smoother lines of contemporary bluegrass, 2:10 Train is still moving in the wrong direction.

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