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Various Artists

The Stanley Tradition: Tribute To A Bluegrass Legacy – 1999 (Doobie Shea)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

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Tim Austin is the founder of one of bluegrass' most successful groups, the Lonesome River Band; he also runs one of the best studios in the business. Now he's retired from the road to devote more time to the studio and a new label that shares its name. The Stanley Tradition is the label's debut release, and it's strong enough to have earned a Grammy nomination for Bluegrass Album of the Year.

To pay homage to the highly influential Stanley Brothers (Carter, who died in 1966, and Ralph, who continues to work to this day), Austin assembled a team of top bluegrass pickers and set them to work behind a dozen of the most talented singers in the genre. The result is solid, traditional bluegrass that illuminates a connection between the "mountain music" sound of the Brothers and the modern, bluesy sound of such bands as the Lonesome River Band, Continental Divide and Alison Krauss' Union Station. Outstanding vocals are turned in on Don Rigsby's "Bootleg John," Dan Tyminski's "This Weary Heart You Stole Away" and Charlie Sizemore's mournful "Home In The Mountains," but these are only the brightest of highlights; every cut is packed with talent and feeling.

The Stanley Tradition is a fitting tribute to two of the legends of bluegrass and the sound they created.