The Nashville Bluegrass Band

Best of the Sugar Hill Years

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Formed in 1984, the Nashville Bluegrass Band filled a slot somewhere between the new and the old, similar, in a number of ways, to Hot Rize. With smooth harmony and a folk sound, NBB blunts many of bluegrass' sharper, more rustic edges; at the same time, one would never confuse NBB with the '70s incarnation of the New Grass Revival or even the eclectically conservative Seldom Scene. While elements of the Nashville Bluegrass Band have changed over the years, all of the 16 selections on Best of the Sugar Hill Years feature vocalist/guitarist Pat Enright, banjoist/vocalist Alan O'Bryant, and fiddler Stuart Duncan. The mandolin spot, over the years, has changed between Mike Compton and Roland White, while the bass players featured on this collection include Gene Libbea and Dennis Crouch. For anyone familiar with the roots music field, this is an impressive roster, and one that works very well as a unit (thus, the emphasis on the "band" in Nashville Bluegrass Band). There's a lot of good stuff here, including the propulsive "Blue Train" and a fine take on Gillian Welch's "Tear My Stillhouse Down." Best of the Sugar Hill Years is a solid introduction to a fine contemporary bluegrass band.

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