Buddy Emmons

Two Aces: Sho-Budding Again

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It is hard to say exactly when this album was recorded and released. The producers provide no exact details, but do offer up a few clues. For example, Buddy Emmons' hair is black. And the phone number listed on the back does not work, although the area code is valid for the city of Nashville. For the most part, this is music that is timeless. Generally, country & western is not a music in which instrumental albums are that important. A funny thing, considering the musical talents of many of the participants. Kept on a tight rein and limited to short solos, the country picker sometimes spends an entire career without ever letting loose. Thankfully, the steel guitar tradition has pushed the idea of instrumental albums in which the pedal steel moves to the front, taking over the role of lead vocal. Listeners that like the groove and sound of country music but can't stand the lyrics might really like an album such as this, as should anyone who has ever had to listen to the lyrics of the maudlin "Footprints in the Snow." Fans of pedal steel and dobro should go wild. Emmons is joined by Shot Jackson, who gets a vivid sound out of his dobro that brings to mind flocks of geese and slices of chocolate cake, among many other things. A crack band is on hand to boister the two pickers, although only fiddler Vasser Clements is identified. The up-tempo "Red Wing" is really great, and there is also a very moving version of the Bob Wills anthem "Maiden's Prayer."

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