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The Reno Brothers

Three Part Harmony – 1998 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Mark "Brink" Brinkman

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CDs by The Reno Brothers

There is always something wonderful about family harmony. This is surely the case with the Reno Brothers. Ronnie handles lead vocals in all but two cuts and does a fine job. Brothers Don Wayne and Dale harmonize with plenty of chances to show off their instrumental ability.

Dad Don Reno definitely had his own unique style of playing banjo, including flashy chord work, with Don Wayne following right in his footsteps. He has not only mastered the "Reno" style, but adds his own touches. He really cuts loose on "Crosstie Junction" and shows off his lead guitar work on "Tarnation." Dale is a wonderful mandolin player. He plays with a combination of drive and tone not many players possess.

"Drake's Creek Reel" lets Dale strut his stuff. The Reno style is always somewhere between traditional and progressive. Some works such as the bluegrass version of the Lefty Frizzell hit "Always Late," while "Movie Time Blues" just doesn't fit or measure up to the rest. But the album is full of wonderful, fresh material. Robin Smith provides a solid foundation on bass. Rob Ickes and Randy Howard offer their tremendous talent on dobro and fiddle respectively. The veteran Reno Brothers continue turning out fine music while pushing the progressive "bluegrass envelope."