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Endless Line

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Album Review

Tim Stafford has seemed content until now to do everything but step to the front on his own solo album. As a group member, he helped propel Alison Krauss & Union Station to Grammy-winning star status in the early '90s, then became a founding member of Blue Highway, bringing his talents for guitar playing, singing, songwriting, arranging, and producing to the group over the course of six albums. Meanwhile, he has moonlighted as a songwriter, session musician, and producer for numerous other bluegrass musicians as well as teaching and issuing his own instructional video (Acoustic Guitar Fundamentals). He seems to have been induced to make this album by its sponsor, Flatpicking Guitar Magazine (hence FGM), and even here he is intent upon sharing the spotlight. Of the seven (out of 14) tunes that have vocals, he invites guest singers in on three of them: John Cowan sings "The Kid," Keith Williams "Bad Reputation," and Robert Hale "If Only for a Day." Even on the instrumentals, he showcases others, making special mention of Rob Ickes' Dobro on "Methodist Preacher" and Rushad Eggleston's cello on "Obsession." But all this support fails to obscure the talents of the man whose name is on the cover. Unsurprisingly for a musician who has been prominent on the bluegrass scene for well over a decade, this doesn't sound like a debut album. It sounds like an assured effort from a veteran who just wants to share a few tunes and songs, mixing traditional numbers with originals steeped in tradition. Stafford is a team player, and he gets a group performance out of his backup musicians, including Adam Steffey on mandolin, Jim Van Cleve on fiddle, Jason Moore on bass, and Ron Stewart on banjo and fiddle. But the album still has an individual stamp, the confident feel of a musician who has mastered his craft.


Born: Kingsport, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Flatpicking bluegrass guitarist Tim Stafford was born and raised in Kingsport, TN. From 1990 to 1992, he was a member of Alison Krauss and Union Station, and he shared the group's 1992 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album for Every Time You Say Goodbye. In 1994, he became a founding member of the band Blue Highway, which issued a series of albums beginning with 1995's It's a Long, Long Road. He has been an in-demand session musician, playing guitar on albums by Butch Baldassari, Ronnie Bowman, Evergreen,...
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Endless Line, Tim Stafford
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