Bluegrass is a genre I discovered and learned to appreciate only fully in 1997. It all started with seeing the film High Lonesome a few years back. There is an amazing amount of talent in the leaders of this art form. You can really get into the melody lines, like with hot jazz. It is easy to write it off, sure, but once you pay attention, it blows your mind. Pinecastle gets my vote as king of the hill for new bluegrass issues. This is the third year noted banjoist Scott Vestal (Continental Divide) has compiled these Bluegrass projects titled after the year of issue. Here, he reunites the same players from the '96 recording. Wizards of Dobro, mandolin, fiddle and more are represented. The lineup: Aubrey Haynie (fiddle, Clint Black), Wayne Benson (mandolin, IIIrd Tyme Out), Rob Ickes (Dobro, Blue Highway), bassist Mark Schatz and Rickie Simpkins (fiddle, Continental Divide and Tony Rice Unit). Bluegrass '97 is an excellent sampler of contemporary bluegrass.
AllMusic Review by Tom Schulte