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Blue Ridge

Getting' Ready – 2006 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Dr. Bobby Jones

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CDs by Blue Ridge

Right from the get-go with the cover photo, Blue Ridge lets you know this is gospel bluegrass that respects the traditions of the genre. The ambiance immediately created is one of simplicity and preservation of the fundamentals. Do not confuse simplicity with lack of professionalism though. This is simplicity of genuineness, authentically delivered, but recorded with the advantage of modern technique.

Junior Sisk is a real deal bluegrass singer and with just the right touch of country. The instrumentation is excellent, as are the harmonies. Eddie Biggerstaff's tenor is old time perfect, and Alan Johnson not only plays a grassy fiddle, but sings bass, including perhaps the lowest note sung by a fiddle man in the history of bluegrass music on "He Will Set Your Fields On Fire." Alan Bibey's mandolin skills are simply among the best in the world; definitely Monroe influenced, but with the unexpected twists and turns that have earned him a spot among the young "mando monsters." Bluegrass always is a little better with some female influence, and fiddler Sonya Isaacs added her special touch on "Won't They Be Surprised."

To get you the flavor of this CD, think Flatt and Scruggs at a schoolhouse in the '50s, all gathered around a mic and singing their hearts out. That's what these boys cut their teeth on, and the influence clearly comes through.