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Randy Kohrs

I'm Torn – 2004 (Lonesome Day)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Randy Kohrs

Due to his remarkable instrumental talents, Dobro player Randy Kohrs hasn't lacked for session and sideman gigs; he's built a resume that includes working with the likes of Tom T. Hall, Dolly Parton, Tammy Cochran, Jim Lauderdale, Dierks Bentley and Rhonda Vincent, as well as stints in Continental Divide and the John Cowan Band.

Now he's building a reputation as a solo artist. This is Kohr's fourth solo album, and after a detour in a more straightforwardly country direction last time out, he's returned to bluegrass with another sterling collection that showcases not only his playing, but his strong, distinctive tenor and songwriting skills as well.

For the most part, Kohrs puts the blue in bluegrass here. There are a few diversions (the fire and brimstone of "Hurry Back, Jesus," a historical yarn in "Mountain Stone," to name a couple), but Kohrs recurs to various dimensions of the sad side of love, from the consequences of love triangles ("I'm Torn," "Passion's Price") to divorce ("It Looked Good On Paper," a duet with Dolly Parton that is one of the album's highlights) to love that's gone bad or died ("I See How You Are" and the poignant widow's lament "Fifty Good Years"). It's easy to find bluegrass records that came out with a bigger splash this year; it's hard to find any that were better than this one. (143 Deaton Road, Booneville, KY 41314, 606-398-2369)