As a past winner at the Galax Fiddler's Convention and the current fiddler for Ralph Stanley, Dewey Brown brings impressive credentials to his new CD. Brown is a talented fiddler with a strong old time sensibility. His style centers on ornamentation around the melody rather then free form soloing. Neither too scratchy nor too slick, he's able to step lively through faster tunes such as "Fire on the Mountain," while maintaining a nice rhythmic bounce. This is a style well suited to Stanley's band.
Brown is ably backed by his fellow Clinch Mountain Boys. James Allan Shelton's guitar provides a nice complement to the fiddle breaks. The band's persistent rhythm and perpetual banjo rolls help drive the faster tunes, but seem a bit jangly on the slow ones. As expected, the band nails the vocals tracks, all drawn from the Stanley repertoire.
The album is full of chestnuts as the title suggests. "Sally Goodin'," "Liberty," "Katy Hill" and, yes, "Orange Blossom Special" all appear here. Brown's respect for tradition is admirable, and the end result is enjoyable. However, the inclusion of a few lesser known tunes would have made the project a little more distinctive. (Box 411, Graham, NC 27253, 336-226-4543)