Ricky Skaggs

The High Notes

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This is subtitled "A collection of his greatest country hits from a bluegrass perspective" -- simple, but accurate. The problem with The High Notes is simple, too: this collection is simply too similar to its source material. There's always been a strong traditionalist vein running through Skaggs' work, even during his time as the biggest name in country in the mid-'80s (of the 12 songs here, nine were originally number one singles), so converting classics such as "Crying My Heart Out Over You" and "Country Boy" to bluegrass isn't exactly a stretch. Even "Heartbroke," which in its original form features a very mid-'80s compressed snare drum, doesn't sound like a distant cousin with a bluegrass tilt -- more like a close brother. If you're a fan of Skaggs' catalog, or of bluegrass (though to be fair, some of these retakes are just more acoustic than strictly bluegrass), you'll likely enjoy what's here, but this one's really only for completists.

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