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Carrie Hassler And Hard Rain

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Album Review

As bluegrass bands have continued to proliferate in the post-millennium, a number of women performers have joined the fray, following the path first cleared by Alison Krauss. The biggest difference is that a newcomer like Carrie Hassler and Hard Rain can no longer win points for being a rarity in a conservative field; Hassler now must separate herself from Rhonda Vincent and a number of other female bluegrass singers. Like Vincent, who originated from a country music background, Hassler offers something of a hybrid between bluegrass and country. The easiest way of understanding this mix is to note the split between Hard Rain's musical input, which is deeply embedded in bluegrass tradition, and Hassler's vocals, which can swing from high and lonesome (bluegrass) to sad and lonesome (country). Some critics have referred to this mix as contemporary bluegrass, a style that draws from bluegrass but blunts its more rustic edge, making it much more radio-friendly, than say, Del McCoury. There are songs on Carrie Hassler & Hard Rain like "Leavin' on Your Mind" that would make good radio fodder, but the album, while never pure of style, nonetheless maintains its allegiance to roots tradition. In other words, Carrie Hassler & Hard Rain is an honest effort, well played and well sung. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

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