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Rattle of the Chains – 2005 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Wildfire

Wildfire has been recognized as one of the up and coming groups of bluegrass for several years and this new CD will only help cement that opinion. It also marks Darrell Webb's growing vocal influence in the group.

Several songs illustrate the blur between country and bluegrass. Robert Hale switches between a classic bluegrass feel - "Watch Over Me" and "Lesson Learned" - to more of a country feel - "The Blame" and "I Wouldn't Mind the Shackles." Webb, though, sticks with more of a classic bluegrass sound - and his voice and approach to a song is all bluegrass. "Can't Have One Without the Other" and "Their Father's Land" could well become bluegrass classics. The band members have not changed for several years, and they are locked together in their instrumentation and vocals. Phil Leadbetter, Barry Crabtree and Curt Chapman provide rock solid support, and Webb and Hale are accomplished players as well.

They touch on gospel ("All In God's Plan") and the only thing missing is an instrumental number, but you won't miss that much because this is a solid bluegrass album from one of the best bands currently on the road.