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Bobby Osborne & the Rocky Top X-Press

Try A Little Kindness – 2006 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Bobby Osborne & the Rocky Top X-Press

As one half of the Osborne Brothers, one of bluegrass music's pioneering brother duos, Bobby Osborne's importance in the history of the genre can't be disputed. This first solo album for Rounder shows he still has a few tricks up his sleeve, however.

Osborne's playing and singing are both solidly placed toward the more traditional end of the bluegrass spectrum, and songs like "The Hard Times" and "West Virginia My Home" wouldn't sound out of place on an Osborne Brothers album from a half-century ago.

The surprises come on a few newer compositions cherry-picked from outside the genre. Osborne turns in a spirited take on country artist Josh Turner's "Long Black Train" and does justice to Kris Kristofferson's classic, "Sunday Morning Coming Down." The real eyebrow-raiser is the closing tune, Paul Simon's "Father and Daughter," which originally appeared in the soundtrack to a Nickelodeon movie. Osborne draws out the sentimental core of the song, claiming it for a new bluegrass standard of the future.