Legendary and long-tenured bluegrass outfit the Seldom Scene mine their own legacy on their 2014 collection Long Time…Seldom Scene, the group's 17th studio album and first since 2007's Scenechronized. Since their inception in 1971, the group has seen a revolving door of membership, with founding members and their replacements coming and going, yet their strong musicianship and progressive spirit have remained a common thread throughout each incarnation of the band. Long Time acts as both an anthology and a reunion album with a track list made up of freshly adapted renditions of some of their most requested live cuts played by the same modern-era lineup from Scenechronized (banjo player and founding member Ben Eldridge, dobroist Fred Travers, guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Ronnie Simpkins, mandolinist Lou Reid, and guitarist Dudley Connell) with founding members Tom Gray (bass) and John Starling (guitar) returning to the fold. As has always been the case with the Seldom Scene, the arrangements are smart and the performances are of the highest quality. The bright, crisp edginess of their more recent studio records is replaced by a warm, roomy sound that suggests a return to analog equipment and a more minimal microphone arrangement. It's a welcome change making tracks like "California Cottonfields" and "Big Train (From Memphis)" sound more off the cuff and full of live energy. The solo vocal performances are spot-on and the group vocals blend smoothly, especially on their 1974 classic "Wait a Minute." A guest spot from Emmylou Harris, joining the band on her Gram Parsons-penned classic "Hickory Wind," is also wistful and lovely highlight on this strong collection from one of bluegrass' most enduring institutions.
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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger