Randy Scruggs

Crown of Jewels

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AllMusic Review by

Randy Scruggs says that recording this CD was more like "directing a movie than actually making an album." He produced and played guitar on every track, wrote a few songs, arranged a couple, sang on a few more, and, most importantly, assembled the all-star cast that makes this album such a joy to listen to. Almost every song here is an outstanding example of a producer's clear vision perfectly executed. The pairing of Emmylou Harris and Iris DeMent on the Carter Family classic "Wildwood Flower" is a match made in heaven, and Travis Tritt sounds great backed vocally by Harry Stinson and Sam Bush on a mostly acoustic version of the Pure Prairie League's "Amie." Another highlight is the Steve Goodman song "City of New Orleans" with John Prine and an outstanding backup chorus. Bruce Hornsby sings his own song about a hard-luck beauty queen, "Crown of Jewels," and even Joan Osborne sings on the rocking "Passin' Through." It's a testament to Randy Scruggs' producing genius and acoustic guitar talent that this album is not just a collection of exceptional tracks, but a cohesive package. Maybe Scruggs isn't really a director but the host of a party -- one of the greatest country parties held in a recording studio since Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. 2. And Scruggs was the master of ceremonies that time, too.

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