Though he had founded his legendary band, the Blue Grass Boys, earlier in the decade, it was in 1946 that Bill Monroe brought together the lineup that has come to be considered the first true bluegrass band - Lester Flatt on guitar, Earl Scruggs on banjo, Chubby Wise on fiddle, Howard "Cedric Rainwater" Watts on bass and, of course, Monroe himself on mandolin.
Legions of bands in the more than half-century since have tried to present themselves as note-for-note, lick-for-lick clones of that seminal quintet (often with horrifying results), but in adopting that landmark year as their band's name, Peterson and his crew mark themselves as disciples of the era more than of the Monroe Cult. Indeed, listening to their debut, it's easy to close your eyes and imagine them coming over the early dawn airwaves, courtesy of Martha White Flour.
True, the album does contain a healthy sampling from the Monroe-Flatt-Stanley canon ("My Darling's Last Goodbye," "The Old Home"), but they also lend their own distinctive, yet traditional stamp to more contemporary material like Paul Craft's "I'll Claim The Blame." And, their version of Monroe's gospel tune "I'm Travelin' On And On" is a textbook example of how instrumentally simple, yet vocally complex bluegrass can be. (Box 68197, Nashville, TN 37206, 615-227-7041)