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Rarely Herd

Coming Of Age – 1998 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Jonathan Colcord

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CDs by Rarely Herd

The Rarely Herd offer a fine bluegrass album from a group that has grown from relative obscurity to one of the most popular bluegrass acts in the nation. Down to a trio, the band brought in Don Wayne Reno, and Rob Ickes who contribute heavily to a fabulous recording produced by Ronnie Reno.

The lead singing really stands out. Powerful vocals from Jim Stack can be heard throughout, while brother Alan sings strong lead on some of the country songs. The band mainly did covers with the exception of "My Virginia Girl," co-written by bassist Jeff Weaver and Pam Gadd, and "Hang Your Coat," a driving love song written by guitarist and vocalist Jim Stack. The disc also covers Bob Dylan's "One More Night," a cross between the original and the latter version done by Tony Rice, "When Will I Let Go," by Steve Wariner, and "Love Please Come Home." Perhaps one of the finest moments, Reno uses his father's banjo on the track - the same one his dad used on the original recording of the song by Reno & Smiley.

Aside from the singing, the players do a wonderful job. Reno is right on throughout on both banjo and guitar, while both Stacks keep superb time in the mandolin and guitar department. Weaver fills in the bottom while Ickes puts the icing on the cake. It's only too bad the guests are not part of the touring band because this is one fine, tight group.