Josh Williams

Lonesome Highway

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When bluegrassers like Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent choose good musicians to fill out their bands, it's inevitable that these players will branch out on their own at some point. Dan Tyminski found an identity separate from Krauss in the wake of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and now Josh Williams steps out of Vincent's shadow on Lonesome Highway. This guy is so talented that he often plays guitar and mandolin, sings lead and baritone -- all on the same track. He's nonetheless joined by a handful of other players and singers including bassist Missy Raines, vocalist Don Rigsby, and fiddler Ron Stewart. Like Krauss and Vincent, Williams specializes in contemporary bluegrass, meaning that his vocals on "Killer on the Loose" and "Ol' Brown Suitcase" are closer to Ralph Stanley II than Ralph Stanley. Having said this, Williams is still old-fashioned enough to cover Flatt & Scruggs' "The Legend of the Johnson Boys," throw in an instrumental like "Golden Pond Getaway," and include the obligatory gospel number, "Will You Meet Me Over There." There are several songs, including "Down Another Lonesome Highway," that explore the downside of love, but it would be hard to call this album downbeat. Fans of Krauss, Vincent, and Tyminski will enjoy discovering another new voice on the contemporary bluegrass scene.

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