Karl Shiflett

The Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show

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This debut album from Rebel Records introduces a rock-solid bluegrass outfit from Texas. Guitarist/vocalist Karl Shiflett has a classic grasser's voice, and his five bandmates can certainly pick it. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this group's sound is the way in which touches of country & western musical vocabulary work their way into the otherwise contemporary bluegrass sound. There are times in these tracks when a bluegrass tune feels like it's about to fly off into Texas swing. Shiflett may be a self-professed student of Bill Monroe, but his fiddler, Kirk Brandenberger, has obviously been listening to Bob Wills, Johnny Gimble, and their like. This tension between classic grass and country & western gives Shiflett's music a dynamic that is uncommon in bluegrass and very appealing. In addition, Shiflett and his boys have recorded a song titled "The One I Love Is Gone," which Monroe sang for Shiflett at the 1995 Bean Blossom Festival and suggested it would be a good tune for Shiflett to sing. (Monroe never recorded the song.) This is an auspicious debut album from a group that seems bound for bigger things.

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