It's easy to argue that once a genre like bluegrass gets popular, too many singers jump on board and the music gets watered down. Still, there should always be room for artists like Randy Kohrs. While many contemporary bluegrass singers seem to have smoothed all the wrinkles out of Bill Monroe's music, Kohrs keeps it natural, filling I'm Torn with passionate vocals and great instrumental work. Indeed, a song like "Over You By Now" is a long way from tradition, but Kohrs' exuberant vocal gives it an earthy quality that hits the listener in the gut. He's joined by a series of good musicians, including banjoist Scott Vestal, mandolinist Josh Williams, and fiddler Tim Crouch. He's even joined by none other than Dolly Parton on "It Looked Good on Paper," and her work here has a lot more soul than her recent, celebrated work on Sugar Hill. Kohrs is also a good musician, and his Dobro adds a healthy dose of the blues to his style of bluegrass. With solid arrangements, a good set list, and fervent vocal work, I'm Torn is the kind of album that both traditional and contemporary bluegrass fans will enjoy.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
feat: Dolly Parton