Ronnie Bowman has a rep as one of the best singers-performers in contemporary bluegrass, and It's Gettin' Better All the Time will do nothing to blunt that opinion. As usual with Bowman, the project is built out of his distinct vocal style and a solid set list, which includes a number of his co-penned originals. He's joined by a strong supporting cast, including well-known pickers and singers like Dan Tyminski and Del McCoury. Bowman's also an impressive guitarist, as he displays on "Old Flame," but the primary emphasis on It's Gettin' Better All the Time is on the songs themselves. That means that songs like "On My Way Back Home" and "Crazy Train" (not to be confused with the Ozzy Osbourne song) seldom run much longer than three minutes. While Bowman will surely be filed under bluegrass, the distinction seems increasingly beside the point (as it does for Alison Krauss). Songs like "Till We Meet Again" may have several bluegrass elements, but could pass for country, while attempts to perform with hardcore bluegrassers like the McCourys on "The Epitaph of Lester Moore" don't really work. "Build a Little Playhouse," on the other hand, sounds like an old Buck Owens song, while the title cut includes a dominate piano in the arrangement. The important thing for fans, however, isn't that this is a bluegrass album, but that it's a Ronnie Bowman album. On that account, It's Gettin' Better All the Time should more than please fans of his previous work.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.