When one hears the voice of Bradford Lee Folk pouring out of the speakers on the opening cut of Cold Wind, he or she knows that they are listening to the bluegrass-gospel according to Bill Monroe. Folk's craggy lead is the real deal, calling to mind Del McCoury, while the no-nonsense drive of his bandmates keeps this project on the straight and narrow. Open Road turns in good versions of Mac Martin's "Francis Lee" and Hank Williams' gospel-tinged "How Can You Refuse Him Now." Producer Sally Van Meter lends some tasty dobro work to "Some Things Does, Some Things Don't," while Dan Mitchell delivers some nifty fiddle work on "What a Way to Go." Even without high-powered guest appearances, guitarist Folk, mandolinist Caleb Roberts, banjoist Jim Runnels, and bassist Ben O'Connor form a fine-sounding unit. The band even gets a chance to strut its stuff on two instrumentals, "Kanesville" and "South Saluda Ramble." If the band has a weakness, it's that its material doesn't always match its strengths. A song like "Hard Times" drags along for over four minutes, while "Petals in My Pocket" lacks a distinct melody. Fans of traditional bluegrass, however, will probably be unconcerned. For them, Open Road's Cold Wind will recall the good old days of back-porch bluegrass.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.