Jeff White

The Broken Road

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Somewhere between reverence and mastery lies Jeff White's fine bluegrass album The Broken Road. The cracks and pops of old 78s have almost become part of the musical landscape of recorded bluegrass, so it's nearly shocking to hear such old-fashioned prowess under modern recording conditions. Highlights include a stunning take on Bill Monroe's "Stay Away From Me," featuring Pete Wernick's charming banjo licks; the title track, featuring a haunting vocal part by Vince Gill and Jerry Douglas's blazing dobro; the heart-rending "Cliffs by the Sea," featuring Allison Krauss on harmony vocals; and the contemporary sounding and drop-dead gorgeous "Cheater's Heart." This is not an album intimidated by the weight of tradition, but rather a project that, through a fusion of old and contemporary visions, builds upon and even enlivens that tradition.

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