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Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum

Guest House – 2004 (HighTone)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum

Veteran bluegrassers, Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum have been playing and recording together for more than 20 years. Their new album is an interesting and wonderful mix of old-time, bluegrass, folk and original tunes.

Both Lewis and Rozum are wonderful pickers (fiddle and mandolin respectively), but what makes this album stand out are their vocals. Lewis still has one of the best voices in any musical genre. Both share lead vocals throughout, but their duets are extra special, including "Alaska," "Bad Seed" and "Since You Went Away." Other highlights include "O My Melissa/How Old Are You?" a delightful Lewis-original about the courtship of Bill Monroe's parents, "Tramps and Hawkers," with some great vocals by Rozum, the traditional, "Old Dan Tucker" and instrumental medley, "Wild Rose of The Mountain/The Devil Chased Me Around The Stump/Glory At The Meeting House." Song selection is top notch. In addition to writing some and arranging some others, Lewis and Rozum include songs by Hazel Dickens, Si Kahn and Claudia Schmidt. Back up musicians include longtime musical friends including banjoman, Craig Smith, Nina Gerber on guitar and Mike Marshall.

It's been a few years since the last Lewis/Rozum collaboration, but this album was well worth the wait.