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Blue Highway

Lonesome Pine – 2006 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Joe Nolan

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CDs by Blue Highway

This latest disc in the Rebel Records' Vault Masters series, reminds us why Blue Highway is one of the best contemporary bluegrass bands. This brings together material from the band's first three landmark releases: "It's a Long, Long Road," "Wind to the West" and "Midnight Storm."

Suffice it to say that the ranging vocal harmonies on a song like "In the Gravel Yard," can send a shiver down your back. Not to mention the fact that it was Blue Highway Dobro picker Rob Ickes who supplanted Jerry Douglas as the International Bluegrass Music Association's favorite mandolin player in 1995.A group full of writers, Blue Highway's original material manages to be of their traditional roots, but not limited by them. The a capella "Some Day," is a "Long Black Veil-esque" first person address from the dearly departed, and "The Rounder" matches a Texas cowboy song with the lyrical sophistication of contemporary songcraft.

If unfamiliar with Blue Highway, this compilation is a great introduction. If you've been down the road with their music before, this disc has it all rushing back.