Fossils

The Fossil Record

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The Fossils have been playing traditional bluegrass around the Pacific Northwest since 1993, when they were organized by guitarist and singer Barry Brower, who wanted to build a group that would be based on the foundation laid by Bill Monroe and avoid the "newgrass" excesses of so many of the Eastern bands recording at the time. And they achieve that goal admirably on their debut CD, which features excellent playing and passable singing. Though the music is largely from the old-school bluegrass repertoire, there aren't very many potboilers; the band does a couple of fine old Rose Maddox tunes ("Going Down" is the best), a couple of Reno & Smiley tunes, and even a couple of Buck Owens numbers. It's a tribute to the band's songwriting chops that the originals, which include the pitch-perfect "My Carolina Darlin'," fit seamlessly into the program. Another highlight is a rollicking bluegrass rendition of "Bye Bye Love." Fiddler Vivian Williams steps in to contribute some fine harmony fiddle on several tracks. Recommended.

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