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Bobby Osborne & the Rocky Top X-Press

Bluegrass Melodies – 2007 (Rounder)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Bobby Osborne & the Rocky Top X-Press

Still going strong at 75, bluegrass icon Bobby Osborne closes in on his 60th year in the music business with his second album out on his own following the retirement of brother and longtime partner Sonny Osborne. His debut effort with his Rocky Top X-press last year (also on Rounder) featured a nice mixture of material familiar and reassuring to longtime Osborne Brothers fans along with more adventurous fare he wants to do that falls outside what he would have done with Sonny.

The title track is, in fact, a new rendition of a classic tune from the lengthy Osborne repertoire that shows that though Sonny's no longer part of the mix, Bobby's managed to maintain the distinctive Osborne harmony pretty much intact. And as far as the unexpected "wild cards," he's clearly having a lot of fun with John Denver's "Thank God I'm A Country Boy." As on the previous disc, he pays tribute to his friends and contemporaries the Stanley Brothers with a fine version of Carter Stanley's "Lonesome River." As an added bonus to close out the album, Rhonda Vincent stops by for a duet with Bobby on Vince Gill's "Go Rest High On That Mountain."