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Jeannie Seely

Life's Highway – 2003 (OMS)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Jeannie Seely

Jeannie Seely first appeared on the Nashville scene some four decades ago - show of hands here, how many of us remember that it was Seely whom Dolly Parton replaced as Porter Wagoner's sidekick? - and since then has continued to be one of the mainstays of the Opry.

Of course, in an age when some of the Opry vets can't quite belt 'em out like they used to, it helps that Seely still has her vocal chops and stage presence to spare. Long known as one of the business's freer spirits, her new, bluegrass-centric disc shows that she's still a performer to be reckoned with.

Like many country stars who came of age in the '60s, bluegrass was a vital part of Seely's musical upbringing and education in Pennsylvania, and her earthy, direct vocals on the 13 tracks are well matched to the backing she gets not only from current top-notch sidemen like Rob Ickes and Glen Duncan, but also historic names like Josh Graves and Jesse McReynolds. And, it doesn't hurt to have the White sisters on board either. The favorites here are "Fast Movin' Train" and "Rose Upon The Riverbank," but there's nothing here to disappoint.