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High Lonesome

Longview

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Album Review

Longview proves that traditional bluegrass need not sound archaic. The key to Longview's success is that the band returns not to the traditional songs that everyone knows, but instead discovers unheralded tunes from the classic period of bluegrass while reworking contemporary songs into music that sounds classic. All the while, the focus remains on the songs themselves, with emphasis on close harmonies and surging emotions over instrumental technique. On paper, it doesn't sound that difficult, but few traditional bluegrass bands sound as unselfconscious and gleeful as Longview. That was the difference that made the group's eponymous debut an award-winning hit, and it's what makes the second record, High Lonesome, every bit its equal. Some may be disappointed that High Lonesome simply delivers more of the same, but that's all that Longview needed to do, since the band is skillfully reviving sounds and spirits, not trying to innovate. Longview has again done a wonderful job of finding songs, whether Gretchen Peters' title track or tunes from Mac Martin and the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, and making them sound like stone classics. Not only are the songs uniformly terrific, they're delivered with gusto, and the production is clean yet organic, not sterile like many contemporary bluegrass albums. It feels as if the music has been given room to breathe, which is a blessing in bluegrass. Taken all together, the songs, sounds, and performances make High Lonesome a rare sequel that matches its praised predecessor.

Biography

Formed: 1995

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s

Named after the recording studio where they spent a week recording their debut album, Longview was a supergroup comprised of six top-ranked traditional bluegrass musicians and vocalists. With a sound that recalled the bluegrass bands of the 1940s and '50s,...
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High Lonesome, Longview
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