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Michael Martin Murphey

Buckaroo Blue Grass II – 2010 (Rural Rhythm)

Reviewed by John Walker

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CDs by Michael Martin Murphey

Michael Martin Murphey is certainly best known for his cowboy western music. Including his most popular song, Wildfire, Murphey helped to re-define the genre after it seemed to wither in the past. Country music had left the old west behind and stepped into a more modern era.

Now, Murphey is attempting to breathe more life into those country western classics, while instilling energy into the growing bluegrass genre. In 2009, Murphey received a Grammy nomination for Bluegrass Album of the Year with Buckaroo Blue Grass. Taking another leap, Murphey returns with more refreshing music on Buckaroo Blue Grass II.

Joining Murphey is a stellar list of musicians including Pat Flynn on lead acoustic guitar, Craig Nelson on acoustic bass, Andy Leftwich on fiddle/mandolin, Andy Hall on Dobro and Charlie Cushman on banjo. If that were not enough, also sprinkle in Ronny McCoury and Sam Bush on mandolin, Rob Ickes on resophonic, Matt Pierson on bass and Audie Blaylock on lead acoustic guitar - some of bluegrass best instrumental talents. Murphey's vocal talents are certainly well supported throughout.

Among the highlights include a new acoustic version of Wildfire on which the Carrie Hassler contributes beautiful vocals. The mellow Backslider's Wine, which was penned by Murphey and previously recorded by Gary Stewart and Jerry Jeff Walker, is simply superb. Finally, his version of the Glaser Brothers hit Running Gun, a hit for Marty Robbins in 1959, completes the picture of Murphey's love for music and the old west.

It is the reflective look with a fresh take that stuns you here. The music is certainly timeless, with much more to yield in this or any genre.