Bluegrass singer/guitarist Tony Rice has been recording songs written by Gordon Lightfoot throughout his career, and this 17-track compilation gathers them together, adding a previously unreleased version of "Whispers of the North" that was cut for Rice's Me and My Guitar album. Included are tracks Rice recorded as part of J.D. Crowe & the New South, the Tony Rice Unit, the Rice Brothers, in a duo with Norman Blake, and as a solo artist. That means that on the various tracks he's joined by a newgrass who's who that includes Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, Vassar Clements, and Bela Fleck, among others. The selections include "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and "Early Morning Rain," but for the most part Rice eschewed Lightfoot's better known compositions, and the collection serves to illustrate the overall quality of the songwriter's catalog. Rice did not just use the songs as platforms for picking sessions, either. His singing clearly influenced by Lightfoot's, he brought a strong interpretive ability to the lyrics. Of course, the picking is pretty hot, too.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann