Various Artists

Rhythm of the Mountains: Bluegrass Explores Its Roots [2002]

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What an amazing collection of classic bluegrass this is! From the Bluegrass Cardinals' old-time "Darlin' Corey" to Mac Wiseman's characteristic countrypolitan croon on "I'll Be All Smiles Tonight" and "Little Blossom," this two-disc set would make a great bluegrass primer as well as a rollicking best-of compilation for longtime supporters of the genre. With seven out of 20 tracks, disc one weighs a little heavy on the Mac Wiseman side, but there are great entries from Grandpa Jones (the scrappy "Wish I'd Stayed in the Wagon Yard" for example), the Osbourne Brothers, and the Stonemans (with their smooth, O Brother, Where Art Thou? sound), among others. Disc two starts off with Lester Flatt & Nashville Grass' beautiful and rough-hewn, whirlwind version of "House of the Rising Sun," sung masterfully by Jervis "Pete" Corvm. Flatt continues to make a show with "Black Eyed Suzy," "Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms," and "Shuckin' the Corn" -- three more amazing tunes that display Flatt's galloping, almost iconoclastic approach to old-time songs. Unsurprisingly, Flatt, even in his post-Foggy Mountain Boys days, is the star of this collection, but throughout, the record maintains a bucolic nostalgia that will return listeners to some back porch, sipping lemonade on a summer day.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:31
3 2:07
4 2:22
5 1:34
6 1:42
7 3:05
8 2:20
9 2:02
10 1:31
12 2:54
13 3:00
14 3:01
16 2:48
17 2:10
18 2:14
19 1:51
20 2:13
blue highlight denotes track pick