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Pioneering Women of Bluegrass

Alice Gerrard & Hazel Dickens

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Album Review

Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard recorded a couple of albums in the mid-'60s that are now acknowledged as groundbreakers in demonstrating that women could play and record quality bluegrass. This collection remasters and re-sequences 26 tracks from the sessions, as well as adding lengthy historical liner notes, much of them contributed by the performers themselves. Historical significance aside, it's pretty good bluegrass, the two singers and instrumentalists supported by other good musicians, including a young David Grisman. Their set leaned heavily on covers of tunes by the Carter Family and Bill Monroe (who specifically gave "I Hear a Sweet Voice Calling" to the duo), with additional items by the Delmore Brothers, the Stanley Brothers, and the like. Alice Gerrard's low vocals give this a greater gravity than much bluegrass. A special highlight is their cover of the magnificently mournful "The One I Love Is Gone," another tune that Monroe donated to the pair. Inverting the usual bluegrass cliché, one might call it an example of the low and lonesome sound.

Biography

Born: 08 July 1934 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

The daughter of trained classical musicians, Alice Gerrard didn't grow up with bluegrass or folk music. Her earliest musical memories are of singing along with family members and friends around the living room piano. Gerrard's albums with West Virginia-born folksinger Hazel...
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Pioneering Women of Bluegrass, Alice Gerrard
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