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That High Lonesome Sound

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Album Review

Twenty-one years after the first album Old & In the Way came the second, an amazing development for a group that existed for only nine months and about 30 gigs in 1973. That High Lonesome Sound, like its predecessor, Old & In the Way, was drawn from the group's stand at the Boarding House in San Francisco in October 1973. And like that release, it combined traditional bluegrass material, in this case standards like "Orange Blossom Special" and "Uncle Pen," with interpolations from the world of rock & roll ("The Great Pretender") and new originals that touched on contemporary issues (Peter Rowan's "Lonesome L.A. Cowboy," a comment on the Southern California country-rock scene of the time). Old & In The Way was a great crossover album, largely because the bandmembers had enjoyed careers in rock, especially banjo player and singer Jerry Garcia, moonlighting from his day job in the Grateful Dead. What was less-well-known was that the group had real roots in the music, as Neil V. Rosenberg pointed out in the second album's liner notes. Four of the five members had experience in bluegrass, and two had been members of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. Old And In The Way was a hybrid, but it was far more bluegrass than rock.

Biography

Formed: 1973 in California

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '90s

Old & in the Way was a one-shot bluegrass band whose legacy lasted far longer than the band. Led by Grateful Dead member Jerry Garcia (banjo, vocals), the band also featured David Grisman (mandolin, vocals), Vassar Clements (fiddle), Peter Rowan (guitar, vocals), and John Kahn (bass). Garcia formed the band in 1973 as a way to revisit his bluegrass roots and demonstrate his affection for the music. To round out the lineup, he recruited Clements and Kahn as well as Grisman and Rowan, who were...
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That High Lonesome Sound, Old & In the Way
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