Rock County

Rock Solid

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Bluegrass continues to thrive thanks to the roots revival and good groups like Rock County seem to spring up with surprising regularity. The title to the group's album -- Rock Solid -- offers a clue to its musical direction. Nothing fancy, just good picking and singing on a dozen bluegrass gems, both old and new. The band's name also offers something as an anonymous front for well-known players like mandolinist/singer Don Rigsby and progressive banjoist Scott Vestal, and is filled out by guitarist Ray Craft, fiddler Glen Duncan, and bassist Robin Smith. Rock Solid shoves off with some fancy fiddle work and group harmony on the upbeat "Mary Jane, Won't You Be Mine." Rigsby takes the lead vocal, which gives him a chance to show off his lonesome, tradition-drenched style. Craft takes the next lead on "Green Pastures" and his deeper vocals offer a nice contrast to Rigsby's on this driving number. One can also pick out just about any song on the album -- "The Old Home Place," "For Years" -- and find great harmony between Rigsby, Craft, Duncan, and Vestal. Rock County mines the heart of tradition, and one suspects that Rigsby and Vestal appreciated the chance to do something with a different slant than their solo work. Fans of traditional bluegrass will agree that Rock Solid lives up to its name.

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