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Ronnie McCoury

Heartbreak Town – 2000 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Jonathan Colcord

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CDs by Ronnie McCoury

Does that last name sound familiar? If you're a bluegrass fan it should. Here with his first solo record is IBMA mandolin champ and son of the legendary Del - Ronnie McCoury. He is backed by a variety of bluegrass musicians including all members of the current Del McCoury Band in various combinations. Along for the ride as well are star pickers such as B+la Fleck, David Grisman, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan and Gene Wooten.

McCoury's mandolin is second to none or is his smooth tenor voice. Those who enjoy Del McCoury's lonesome tone will also find the younger McCoury to their liking. Of the 13 tracks, McCoury wrote 9, both instrumental and vocal numbers many of which have the tried and true Del McCoury Band flavor, while others enter more progressive territory such as "Dawggone," performed with David "Dawg" Grisman on second mandolin. McCoury also includes three great bluegrass waltzes, "Lily Hoskins," "Our Love Never Dies" and "Sometimes Sleep Closes These Eyes," which will appeal to fans of classic country music as will most of it.

McCoury never leaves the bluegrass out, but does incorporate some tasteful drums to the first and last tracks from Larry Atamanuik. Standouts are Hoyt Axton's "Evangelina," Jamie Hartford's "Somebody's Gonna Pay," his own instrumentals "Glen Rock," "Noppet Hill Breakdown" and original vocal numbers "Heartbreak Town," "When The Hurt's Talkin'" and "Cold Lonesome Feeling." For those already familiar, this is exactly what you've been waiting so long for. Those who are new to McCoury won't be for long.