Masterworks of American Bluegrass offers a competent overview of some of the artists working in bluegrass, as well as some of those who helped to mark its journey over the years. There aren't many of the acknowledged hits from the established names, but considering just how many bluegrass collections focus on those "hit" songs, it's nice to hear deeper cuts -- or at least less-familiar recordings -- from, among others, Mac Wiseman, the Osborne Brothers, the Stoneman Family, and Don Reno. The songs from artists like Marty Stuart and Billy Troy tend to have a sharper edge with less of the laid-back country cool of their predecessors. Occasionally, as with the Cache Valley Drifters and their cover of Paul Simon's "Boy in the Bubble," things drift a bit toward the surreal, but if anything, it just demonstrates the vibrancy and adaptability of bluegrass itself. This isn't necessarily the best place to start listening to bluegrass, but it's a fine collection and well worth a listen.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Wade Kergan