While the post-O Brother Where Art Thou? craze has put a premium on old-time bluegrass in the Bill Monroe and Lester Flatt mold, another rich vein of acoustic music has been neglected. Born in the late '60s and early '70s, progressive bluegrass (often called newgrass) blends the old with the new to create an eclectic, constantly shifting hybrid. The Other Side of the Mountain: Bluegrass, Newgrass and Beyond offers a dozen progressive songs and instrumentals, providing a nice intro into the genre and a chance to check out Compass' impressive roster. Tim O'Brien delivers a fine vocal on "Handsome Molly," while Sam Bush converts Elvis Costello's "Every Day I Write the Book" into a catchy piece of acoustic new wave. Peter Rowan revisits "Rainmaker" with a little help from Drew Emmitt, while Judith Edelman delves into her trademark Americana on "Good Day, There It Goes." The Other Side of the Mountain is also rich in lovely instrumental work. Both Darol Anger and Mike Marshall, veterans from the David Grisman Quintet, make a number of appearances, and hotshot mandolinist Matt Flinner is joined by guitarist David Grier and bassist Todd Phillips on "City Chickens" and "Dixie Hoedown." All of these divergent styles, from folk-jazz to acoustic funk, are brought together by a high level of musicianship and a love of innovation. For anyone curious about how things sound on The Other Side of the Mountain, this collection will more than suffice.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.