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Take a Bow, RRE ****1/2,
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This review is from: Last Of The Outlaws (Audio CD)
Here's a brand new genre for you in 2014 - Prog Bluegrass you might care to call it - as demonstrated by the centrepiece of this fine studio offering from Railroad Earth. The 21-minute collage, "All That's Dead May Live Again / Face With A Hole", spread across two segued tracks, is the major talking point here, an impressive display of instrumental virtuosity and dexterity with enough in the way of ebb and flow to keep it interesting.
Of course there seems to be less and less actual bluegrass with each passing RRE album, even though they do seem to have taken a step back from the more mainstream sheen given to them by producer Angelo Montrone last time out. The band have chosen to produce themselves this time, and that's where they drop half a star in my assessment. Top producers earn their corn for a reason. They're not an unnecessary luxury. Bands are often too close to their own work to be the best judges, objectively, of how to realise their ideas. Good though these songs are, at times you do get a nagging sense that the band are maybe just a little too satisfied with themselves. I can't quite shake the feeling that in the right hands this could have been a complete masterpiece but instead, it just falls short.
But it's still pretty good.
"Chasin' A Rainbow" "Monkey" and especially "One More Night On The Road" keep the toes tapping nicely whilst "Hangtown Ball" and "Grandfather Mountain" are the latest in a long line of easy-on-the-ear mid-tempo outings that the band seem to churn out so effortlessly.
The title track is rather subdued, taking its time to get where it's going; an example of where a sprinkling of production magic-dust might have made all the difference.
But overall, it's another impressive release by RRE even if highly unlikely to cause even the tiniest ripple on these shores. It's our loss.