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Jim Mills

Bound to Ride – 1998 (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Jim Mills

Staying faithful to bluegrass' roots. Jim Mills doesn't stray with these 13 tracks.

Currently banjoist for Ricky Skaggs, who also is prominently featured, this isn't a banjo album. "John Henry Blues" has been around in some form for many years, but this version proves it's timeless, with three-part harmony and the standard set of backup instruments. The picking is near flawless, and the featured five on "He Came From Carolina" (mandolin, guitar, bass, banjo, dobro) illustrate why bluegrass remains great for its fans. No 10-second sound bites of picking that you hear on country records, just solid, traditional bluegrass that would make Monroe and Scruggs proud.

From "There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight" to "How Great Thou Art" the vocals (Mills doesn't sing) and pickers are tight, and the selections show the mix of music that make this bluegrass album special.