Dave Evans

Pretty Green Hills

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It's clear listening to the title cut of Pretty Green Hills that Dave Evans puts lots of country-soul into his vocals. He'll never be confused with the ever growing cadre of male vocalists whose voices sound closer to Garth Brooks than Bill Monroe, and for that, traditionalists will be happy. He's joined by a handful of players and singers -- Bobby Hicks, Randy Thomas, Merline Johnson, Mike Garris, and Bo Issac -- for a solid set list mixing old favorites with several originals. Evans and company even bravely tackle and bring something new to old warhorses like the instrumental "Soldier's Joy" and "East Virginia Blues." There are also two story-songs by Tom T. Hall (one written with Dixie Hall), including the title cut. One highlight of Pretty Green Hills is the Evans' original, "Should I Go, Should I Stay," a solo piece featuring no more than his vocals and a guitar. The simplicity of the arrangement allows the emotion of the lyric to stand front and center, and though it's probably been polished in the studio, the song reminds one of a demo. For anyone who believes that a contemporary bluegrass often means watered-down bluegrass, Evans' Pretty Green Hills holds tight to tradition without ever mimicking it.

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