Black Music Matters Festival

Drew Emmitt

Across The Bridge – 2005 (Compass)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Drew Emmitt

While most listeners may be more familiar with Drew Emmitt's other group, the late jam-grass mainstay Leftover Salmon, this second solo album from the singer, songwriter and mandolin player shows the pure bluegrass at the heart of his music.Like Emmitt's first solo disc, "Freedom Ride," he again enlists an A-list

group of guests like Del and Ronnie McCoury, Stuart Duncan, Sam Bush, John Cowan and Paul Barrere to fill out the sound around his core band of Matt Flinner, Greg Garrison and Ross Martin. The difference this time is that the extra hands aren't as noticeable. Like any good bluegrass collection, the focus here is on the songs, whether they are Emmitt's or from other sources. Jim Lauderdale even stops in for a trio of co-writes, including the album closer, "The Awakening," on which he contributes some harmony vocals.

With the bluegrass tent expanding in recent years to welcome more of the adventurous jam-band crowd, it's nice to hear the favor returned so capably in a more traditional fashion.