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King Wilkie

Broke – 2004 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by King Wilkie

The members of King Wilkie are all in their early twenties, but you'd never know it from the album they have produced here. Taking their name from Bill Monroe's horse, the boys have taken Monroe's combination of reverence for tradition and knack for innovation as well.

"Broke" features a clutch of songs from the back catalog of bluegrass and country standards, like Ralph Lewis' "40 West," Gov. Jimmie Davis' "Where the Old Red River Flows" and traditional songs like "Little Birdie." These are stacked up against a handful of original tunes that prove that this band is no post-collegiate prank. They showcase their upbeat instrumental and vocal prowess on, "It's Been A Long Time," visit the dark corners of songwriting on, "Lee and Paige" and return to see the light with the gospel number, "Drifting Away."

A well-rounded group like this usually comes with experience, so to see King Wilkie break out of the bluegrass music chute with a fast start like this means that this is one horse to bet on to win.