To say that this is old-fashioned progressive bluegrass is not as contradictory as it may sound at first blush. Bear in mind that progressive bluegrass has been an established subgenre for a good many decades, and that it includes under its umbrella such relatively straight-ahead groups as the Country Gentlemen (who were covering calypso and pop tunes as early as the 1960s) and the Seldom Scene as well as more eclectic and boundary-transgressing artists like David Grisman and New Grass Revival. Due West falls more toward the old-fashioned progressive end of the spectrum: Its instrumentation could hardly be more traditional, and while banjoist Bill Evans is no slouch at intricate chromatic playing, he sticks for the most part to solid, meat-and-potatoes bluegrass-style picking, as do guitarist Jim Nunally and mandolinist Erik Thomas. It's the song choices and originals that mark them as a progressive outfit. Alongside hard-edged bluegrass classics like "Traveling the Highway Home" and "Are You Alone" (as well as a great version of the Weavers' hit song "Gotta Travel On") are a Mexican-flavored instrumental by Thomas entitled "Mexicali Moonshine" and a slow but intricate original tune by fiddler Chad Manning called "Sandy Marsh." This is a very promising debut from some of the finest living exponents of traditional progressive bluegrass.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson