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Phil Leadbetter

Slide Effects – 2005 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Phil Leadbetter

Wildfire is one of bluegrass' hottest new bands and their resophonic guitar picker is recognized as one of the best in the business. While this CD is Phil Leadbetter's solo effort he's joined by some of his bandmates (Darrell Webb and Robert Hale) as well as some of the most recognizable names in bluegrass (Leftwich, Gulley, Raybon, Bowman and Duncan to name just some of them).

The instrumental side of this CD is as good as you'll hear anywhere including old favorites like "Remington Ride" and country's "Steel Guitar Rag." You also get some of Leadbetter's own compositions, the hot "Moon Racer" and the reflective "Sea of Tranquility." Unlike some instrumentally-oriented albums Phil has also included strong vocal pieces. Among them are Alice Vestal's version of Sting's "Fields of Gold" (an excellent resophonic song!) and "Tattoos of Life," a song that will appeal to anyone who has been around the track of life a time or two.

Leadbetter (and co-producer Scott Vestal) put together a fantastic collaboration of instrumentals and vocals from a variety of influences. While the traditional and somewhat shopworn favorites often heard are missing, they have put together a fresh bluegrass sound while avoiding the feel of pushing the boundaries of the genre. Phil Leadbetter's work on this new CD helps cement his position in the top rank of Dobroists in the business of bluegrass.