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Lou Reid & Carolina

Blue Heartache – 2000 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Mark "Brink" Brinkman

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CDs by Lou Reid & Carolina

Lou Reid has been a mainstay in the bluegrass/country arena for many years playing with such greats as Ricky Skaggs and the Seldom Scene. On his latest with his own band, Carolina, the personnel changed, but the quality has not. Powerful lead singing combined with tight vocals has always been, and remains, a signature of Lou Reid & Carolina. Gina Britt does a fine job on the banjo, although the band misses the dynamic of drive of past banjo player Terry Baucom. Britt's vocals have a beautiful country feel to it and is showcased on "Living In Our Country World." Brian Stephens offers solid rhythm guitar work along with some Tony Rice-ish lead work. Jeff Deaton holds the band together on bass. Adding tremendously is the fiddle work of guest fiddler, Ronnie Stewart.

Reid keeps traditional bluegrass alive by including tunes such as "Take This Hammer," "Helen" and the Monroe classic "Letter From My Darlin," but also moves in more of a country direction with "Out On The Highway" and the beautiful Jim Rushing/Keith Sewell tune "Memories Don't Die." Either way it proves effective. This is a fine effort and once again proves Reid is one of the finest lead singers in bluegrass music.