Lessons in Stone

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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson

Longview is something of a bluegrass supergroup, consisting as it does of former members of the Seldom Scene, the Johnson Mountain Boys, the Lonesome River Band, Clinch Mountain Boys, and even Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. The band's third album finds it working in the same vein of traditional but forward-looking bluegrass that it has had success with in the past, combining old standards with new compositions and delivering everything with an effortless instrumental virtuosity and stirring vocal prowess. So why isn't the album better than merely very good? In part because of some unfortunate production choices, among them an unnecessary amount of echo and reverb. And in part because a couple of these songs fall a bit flat -- notably the maudlin title track and a strange rendition of "When the Golden Leaves Begin to Fall," on which lead singer Dudley Connell and the rest of the band part harmonic ways for a moment and didn't bother to go back and fix the problem. But on their hard-driving rendition of "Hills and Home," and especially the grittily powerful "I've Lived a Lot in My Time" (featuring the spectacular James King on lead vocals), the band shines brightly enough to overcome the album's few minor missteps. Recommended.

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