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Kenny Smith

Studebaker – 1997 (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Kenny Smith

Kenny Smith, guitarist and vocalist with bluegrass's The Lonesome River Band, offers a pleasing mix of instrumental and vocal tunes on his solo debut. He's joined by fellow LRBers Ronnie Bowman, Sammy Shelor and Don Rigsby, as well as Adam Steffey and Barry Bales of Alison Krauss and Union Station.

Smith's prowess as a guitarist is best illustrated on "Bill Cheatham," "Snow Shoes," an unaccompanied guitar tune" and "Red-Eyed Benny Hen." Smith's wife, Amanda lends her vocal talents to the album's best cut, "Lay This Broken Heart To Rest." Smith sings lead on several, including "One Horse Wagon," and "Preachin' By The Roadside." This is a very fertile time for bluegrass and recently many of its top instrumentalist sidemen(Sammy Shelor, Aubrey Haynie, Rickie Simpkins, David Grier, to name a few) have released new CDs, so it might be easy for this album to get lost in the shuffle. But Smith is one of the top talents on his instrument, and this effort will no doubt satisfy his many fans.