One of the great strengths of this bluegrass compilation is that, contrary to its title, it offers a very rich cross section of approaches to the tradition -- not only bluegrass mountain-style, but also bluegrass California-style, bluegrass urban-style, and bluegrass progressive-style. For the hardcore mountain stuff there are classic acid grass performances by the McCoury Brothers (whose rock-hard and piercing vocals on "My Sweet Love Ain't Around" constitute one of this album's highlights) and Ricky Skaggs (who delivers an absolutely slamming rendition of the high-lonesome classic "Lost and I'll Never Find the Way"). For a more urban sound you can skip over to mandolinist Andy Statman's swinging "The Whup of Love" or the late Joe Val's Boston-accented take on "Diamond Joe." California bluegrass legend Tony Rice depresses flatpickers everywhere with his fiery and headlong "John Hardy," and Tony Trischka continues his ongoing expansion of the bluegrass banjo vocabulary with his own composition entitled "Crosseyed Cricket," on which he moves easily between meat-and-potatoes Scrugs-style picking and complex melodic passages (Béla Fleck does much the same thing on his own "Texas Barbecue," which also features some fine work using Keith tuners). And that only scratches the surface of this 22-track collection. Highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson