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Peter Rowan and Tony Rice

Quartet – 2007 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Tim FitzPatrick

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CDs by Peter Rowan and Tony Rice

For those who are unfamiliar with Peter Rowan or Tony Rice's past work, this is a good introduction. Those already familiar with these artists will find it no surprise that the album is a nice balance or Rowan's singing and songwriting, and Rice's trademark flatpicking guitar.

While his delivery may be more restrained than in past efforts, Rowan's voice is still in good form. Rice's solos, especially on "Moonlight Midnight," are satisfying, and his playing behind the vocals is both interesting and tasteful throughout.

Since much of the material is drawn from Rowan's past recordings, it's tempting to view this album as a retrospective. However, the strength of the ensemble sound defines the work as something more. The quartet, which is rounded out by Sharon Gilchrist on mandolin and Bryn Davies on bass, is able to create a mood around each song. "Cold Rain and Snow," with its mandolin intro, is wonderfully evocative. The three-part harmonies open up the chorus on Townes Van Zandt's "To Live is to Fly." The musicians play off each particularly well on "Shady Grove," and "The Walls of Time."