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Rice, Rice, Hillman and Pedersen

Out of Woodstock – 1997 (Rounder)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Rice, Rice, Hillman and Pedersen

The quartet of Rice, Rice, Hillman and Pedersen first played together as teenagers in a Southern California jam session in 1963. Since then, each has been part of some of the most pioneering musical acts of the last three decades.

Each has helped shape the development of country, bluegrass, and acoustic music as members of groups like The Desert Rose Band, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, The New South, David Grisman's Quintet and The Dillards.

This album is acoustic music at its best. Hillman, the most prolific songwriter of the bunch, contributed five songs, including "Hard Times," a hit from the Desert Rose days. Larry Rice kicked in two originals. They cover some favorites, including Richard Thompsons's "Dimming of the Day" and "Do Right Woman," a Flying Burrito Brothers classic.

The musicianship is superb. Hillman, Pedersen and Larry Rice are all in good voice, and, even though, sadly, brother Tony doesn't sing (per doctors' orders), his presence is more than felt on guitar. Add to that a supporting cast including dobroists Jerry Douglas and Mike Auldridge.

Though this is one of the year's first releases, it will no doubt go down as one of the year's finest and most enjoyable releases.