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Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time

Murder on Music Row – 1999 (Shell Point)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time

Don't be misled by the title track of bluegrassers Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard TIme's latest. It's not your typical homicidal ballad. Songwriter and guitarist Cordle laments the killing of the soul of modern country music, noting that "drums and rock and roll guitars" have replaced the steel guitar and that Hank or Merle "wouldn't have a chance on today's radio."

Cordle is joined by bassist Terry Eldredge, Booie Beech on acoustic lead guitar,Fred Carpenter on fiddle, David Harvey on mandolin and David Talbot on banjo.The band is most impressive on the instrumentals "Black Jack" and "Buck's Run." Other standouts are "Black Diamond Strings" in which the singer fondlyremembers his early days as a musician, and "Deep Mine Blues," a ballad whichis preceded by the companion poem "Old Kentucky Miner", in the tradition ofMerle Travis.

Though Cordle and LST are not likely to redirect the course of country music, the title track will strike a chord with fans of traditional country music who have been alienated by Nashville in recent years.