Cliff Waldron has been a bluegrass veteran for over 30 years. On his 2002 Rebel release, A Little Ways Down the Road, Waldron more than lives up to his reputation. He's assembled a sizable group that includes Nevin Lambert on mandolin, Steve Spence, bass, Billy Wheeler, banjo, Mark Clifton, dobro and Doug Bartlett on fiddle for a lively set of traditional bluegrass. The song selection shifts between originals, established classics, and religious material with Waldron handling the lead vocals. He's joined by Lambert and Spence for some lovely harmony on pieces like "My Favorite Time of the Day" and "God Walks the Dark Hills." Perhaps the most interesting song on the album is "An Axe to Grind," a cautionary tale of marital infidelity. This fascinating little jewel sits comfortably between a religious song and public domain material, and it wouldn't be a stretch to call it "feminist." The primary image is that of a woman chopping wood. No one knows what became of her husband, but they do know that this axe grinding gal caught him cheating. The rest is left up to the listener's imagination. The song's companion piece is a fine version of Harlan Howard's "She's Gone, Gone, Gone," another tale of a woman who can live without a deceitful man. With this contemporary spin, A Little Ways Down the Road qualifies as a fine traditional bluegrass album that even Gloria Steinem could enjoy. Waldron fans are sure to greet the album warmly.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.