Andy Leftwich

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Andy Leftwich is one of those fiddlers everyone talks about in whispers, usually after having seen him tear up the stage as a member of Ricky Skaggs' Kentucky Thunder band. Equally adept on mandolin as the fiddle and a better than average guitarist as well, Leftwich generally handles several instrumental chores at a time on his debut as a leader, but is also assisted by a crack team of sidemen, including resonator guitarist Rob Ickes, bassists Mark Fain and Missy Raines, and banjo player Richard Bailey. The program is weighted toward more or less traditional bluegrass, but it also contains strong elements of jazz (check out his blistering version of Django Reinhardt's "Minor Swing") and Grisman/Rice-style new acoustic music (check out his own "Faultline," which could have been taken straight off an old Tony Rice Unit album). On the other hand, you might mistake his "Leaving New Hampshire" for a traditional fiddle tune -- in fact, on the B part you might mistake it for "Soldier's Joy." The album ends with a lovely solo mandolin version of "Jesus Loves Me." Very highly recommended.

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