Pennsylvania is probably not at the top of the list when music fans think about states associated with bluegrass. However, that might be a mistake since the commonwealth has a very rich bluegrass heritage with Del McCoury, banjo wiz Tom Adams and the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, a regular event since 1979 that has featured virtually every major artist in the genre. Chris Warner, an ace banjo player originally from Red Lion, carries the Pennsylvania bluegrass torch with his latest solo album.
Warner's career, which began in the '60s, is filled with many highlights including touring with his bluegrass hero, Jimmy Martin, and stints with both Adams, as a member of the Double Eagle Band, and McCoury, as part of the Shady Valley Boys.
This pedigree is evident in the quality of the album's 14 tracks, which find Warner jumping seamlessly between instrumental compositions, originals and traditional standards. Adams, Mike Cleveland and Darren Beachley headline a collection of talented musicians Warner assembled, and the picking and production are both fabulous.
Although Warner and Adams share vocal duties throughout, the instrumentals really shine. Both Lickety Split and Leavin' Town, the two tracks that bookend the collection, are fast-paced examples of Warner's banjo talents and his ability to play well with others. Another standout is Turkey Buzzard a banjo and fiddle tune featuring Cleveland.