The Seldom Scene

Dream Scene

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In 1995 the Seldom Scene split apart and three of its members left to form the progressive bluegrass band Chesapeake. The remaining members re-formed with Dobro player Fred Travers, lead singer Dudley Connell, and bassist Ronnie Simpkins to record what would be John Duffey's last album. The album begins with the spirited "Dry Run Creek" which tips its hat toward traditional bluegrass. Connell's vocals have a more country flavor than earlier Seldom Scene vocalists like John Starling and Phil Rosenthal, and this quality helps create a more traditional effort from a band known for its progressive tendencies. Despite these changes, the band retains much of its trademark sound and a good deal of credit for this should be given to Fred Travers's excellent Dobro playing. The song choice is also solid, including an excellent version of Jean Ritchie's "Blue Diamond" and "Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising." There are lovely moments as when Duffey sings lead on "The Boatman," though it should be noted that his voice lacks the range it once had. The harmony singing on "The Little Sparrow (Fair and Tender Ladies)" even recalls the earlier sound of Duffey's first group, the Country Gentlemen. It is perhaps tempting to use such comparisons to suggest that Duffey is looking back over his long career on Dream Scene; but it would be closer to the truth to say that Duffey and the re-formed Seldom Scene are only trying to make good music. Toward that end, they have succeeded. Dream Scene is a fine effort for both old and new fans.

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