Randy Howard

I Rest My Case

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Although Randy Howard has been an expert fiddler for some time, he's managed to stay quietly on the sidelines by sticking to contests and studio work. This should change, however, thanks to Sugar Hill's 2003 release of I Rest My Case, an hour-long display for Howard and his high-profile musician friends. The album receives a fine jump-start with Frank Wakefield's "New Camptown Races," a quick-paced romp with some fine bow work by Howard and nifty guitar picking from Bryan Sutton. The title track rolls along like a pleasant afternoon drive in the countryside and features a nice guest spot by mandolinist David Grisman. While "I Rest My Case" was written by Howard, he has chosen most of his material from a wide variety of sources. Dan Fogelberg's "Leader of the Band," for instance, features a first-class vocal from Don Rigsby, while "Sweet Bunch of Daises," a jazz-flavored tune worthy of Stephane Grappelli, draws from public-domain material. It should also noted that even though Howard is the center of attention on this project, his illustrious guests -- including Sam Bush, Carl Jackson, and Jerry Douglas -- get plenty of room to strut their stuff. Engaging, eclectic, and tastefully rendered, I Rest My Case is a well-wrought entry in the new acoustic field.

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