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George Shuffler

Aged To Perfection – 2000 (Copper Creek)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by George Shuffler

Although not widely known outside the world of bluegrass, it can be said with some authority that North Carolina native George Shuffler ranks among the more influential guitarists in American music. As a bassist and guitar player for the legendary Stanley Brothers during the 1950's and 60's, he developed his distinctive "crosspicking" style that (and this is a somewhat oversimplified description) combines flatpicking with fingerstyle picking.

You almost have to see him do it to really understand its complexity and difficulty. After departing the Stanleys some three decades ago, Shuffler toured for several years with his family's gospel band before going into semi-retirement. This collection of a dozen instrumental renditions of favorite traditional and country tunes is a response to an endless stream of requests from fans for such an album, and Shuffler shows he's still got his touch on classics like "Nine Pound Hammer," "Sweet Sunny South" and "Miller's Cave." It's not fiery, flashy pickin' in the mold of fellow Carolina native Doc Watson, but it does have an easygoing charm and appeal all its own. It's nicely produced as well with the added attraction of Shuffler dubbed in to accompany himself on bass.