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Seldom Scene

Different Roads – 2007 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Dave Bagdade

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From its inception in the early 1970s, the Seldom Scene has been one of the most consistently interesting and quietly progressive bands in modern bluegrass. This 14-track compilation highlights the band's classic original lineup of mandolinist John Duffey, guitarist John Starling, Dobro star Mike Auldridge, banjoist Ben Eldridge (the lone original member in today's roster) and bassist Tom Gray.

The puzzling thing about this compilation is why it exists. The Seldom Scene released 8 albums on Rebel between 1972 and 1978, and "Different Roads" collects tracks from 3 of them: "Act Two" (1973), "Old Train" (1974) and "The New Seldom Scene Album" (1976), respectively, the second, fourth and sixth of the Rebel releases. Therefore, it's not a "best-of," nor is it a collection of highlight tracks from consecutive releases or songs with any particular unifying theme.

That being said, "Different Roads" offers an always-welcome opportunity to remind listeners just how groundbreaking the original Scene really was. From well-known classics like "Old Train" and "Wait A Minute" to the more obscure "I've Lost You" and "Pictures From Life's Other Side," this disc serves as a fine (if mystifying) introduction for newbies as well as a reminder of the original Scene's greatness.