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Andy Leftwich

Ride – 2003 (Skaggs Family)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Andy Leftwich

Andy Leftwich is a 22-year-old fiddle whiz who plays in Ricky Skaggs' Band, Kentucky Thunder. His debut album is totally instrumental. Leftwich, tunes, who not only plays fiddle, but mandolin and guitar as well, penned 10 of the album's 13 songs.

Backed by some great pickers, including Rob Ickes on Dobro and Richard Bailey on banjo, Leftwich is able to mix traditional sounds with his own progressive musical tastes. The result makes for an enjoyable musical ride. He tastefully mixes accordion in on songs like "Queen Anne's Lace" and "A Greater Love." The album is full of different musical influences, from bluegrass to jazz to Celtic. The album's finale, "Jesus Loves Me, " is perhaps the album's best, featuring only Leftwich on mandolin. The sound is simple, clean and soulful.

For an all-instrumental album, Leftwich has scored big on this one. The musicianship is top-notch. The songs, though not familiar, are entertaining, creative and varied. For Ricky Skaggs to hire Leftwich to be part of his band speaks volumes about his respect for the young musician's ability. Leftwich shows why he's got his boss' respect here, with a very fine debut album.