A Virtual Curmudgeon offers some fine modern material to go along with old favorites and becomes much requested in turn. Take the crystal clear hammer dulcimer and lilting flute on "Whistlin' October," an original by bandmember and talented composer Mike Furbee, as is the equally enjoyable "September Reel." These definitely merit repeat play; in fact, so does the entire album. From traditional instrumentals like "Coleraine" and a melancholy, yet beautiful, rendition of "God, Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" to harmonious vocal numbers like "The Waters of Tyne" and "Country Life," A Virtual Curmudgeon delivers quality performances. Bob Shank is an extremely skilled and versatile hammer dulcimer player, and it will delight listeners who were fond of Hickory Wind in the '70s to hear both him and Mark Walbridge (on banjo) performing together again. So this mp3.com sampler from the albums Curmudgeon, Up to Our Necks in Christmas, and Country Life will be a gladsome introduction to the group for new listeners and a definite enhancement to any music library.
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