Of the of the earliest albums issued on Rounder in the early '70s, Things in Life is the first solo album by Don Stover, a virtuoso bluegrass banjo player who performed and recorded with the Lilly Brothers, Bill Monroe, Frank Wakefield, Doc Watson, and others. Although born and raised in West Virginia (he actually spent many years working in the coal mines), Stover moved to Boston in the '50s and became influential to a generation of bluegrass players there, most notably Bill Keith. This makes sense, as Stover often adds a subtle melodic element to his driving three-finger-Scruggs and two-finger-clawhammer styles. A powerful player with a tough, yet swinging, feel and a jackhammer right hand, Stover infuses everything on this album with a good-natured energy and sense of fun. The instrumentals are best, but Stover's vocals are passionate, if not as technically accomplished as his playing. Several of the tunes on the album, including the title track, are originals, and Stover proves himself an able songwriter, the pretty "Black Diamond" being a particular standout. Other highlights include Stover's innovative descending runs on "Rockwood Deer Chase" and the always sublime mandolin playing of David Grisman.
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AllMusic Review by Pemberton Roach