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Bobby Osborne & the Rocky Top X-Press

Bluegrass & Beyond – 2009 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Bobby Osborne & the Rocky Top X-Press

As half of the Osborne Brothers, Bobby Osborne was responsible for much of the music that shaped the glory years of the bluegrass genre. As a solo artist, he still commands respect and a great band on his latest album. Osborne and company are all over the map stylistically, bouncing from the 1950s-style country bluegrass of Let's Sing Our Song to a great vocal turn on the gospel number What Would You Give In Exchange For Your Soul, which has the added benefit of guest vocals from Marty Stuart and his wife, classic country singer Connie Smith.

The most surprising track has to be the take on Eddie Rabbit's Drivin' My Life Away, a song fitting the bluegrass template so perfectly, complete with impossibly fast banjo runs, that one might think it was written that way.

Osborne shows with each new release that he has no intention of slowing down, retiring, or otherwise leaving behind the bluegrass he loves to play, and he still plays and sings it well.