This companion album to the fine bluegrass documentary of the same name is a stirring collection of music. The presence of stalwart pioneers like Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley sees to that, as does the inclusion of innovators like the Osborne Brothers and the Seldom Scene. To attempt to sketch the story of bluegrass music is a daunting (and impossible) task, but this collection takes a good crack at it with well-chosen tracks and interjected comments by the artists. Fittingly, the collection starts with the father of the genre, Monroe, and his "Body and Soul." The track epitomizes the "high lonesome" sound with Monroe's mournful, almost barking cries and the glorious twin fiddles. Monroe and Stanley are covered well -- with recordings from the '50s (Ralph Stanley with the Stanley Brothers), '60s, '70s, and '80s -- without forgetting important folks like Mac Wiseman and Jimmy Martin. Particularly amazing is Ralph Stanley's gospel number "Gloryland," done here a cappella with Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley. It is at once spiritual, gorgeous, and chilling.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Erik Hage