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Album Review

J.D. Crowe and the New South's Bluegrass Evolution is not only a sturdy collection of tunes, but a piece of important history as well. The album caused a stir when it was released in the early '70s, as Crowe and company spearheaded the fusion of traditional bluegrass elements with such electric country instruments as steel guitar, piano, and drums. This was certainly not viewed as a scandalous approach later on — except in fiercely traditional bluegrass circles — but consider that Bluegrass Evolution is no less pioneering an effort than the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo, the effort that spearheaded country-rock and introduced the larger public to Gram Parsons. Along with albums by folks such as New Grass Revival (among others), Bluegrass Evolution paved the way for progressive bluegrass. Despite the pioneering bent, Tony and Larry Rice give remarkably tight and trad-minded vocal performances. The album was re-released on CD in the late '90s.

Customer Reviews

Good but not great...

If you like your Bluegrass with a little Country flavor (Steel Guitars-Drums) you'll like this recording. This is an earlier version of the New South than the one that recorded the seminal ground breaking album; Rounder 0044 with Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs and Jerry Douglas. This lineup features Tony and brother Larry Rice. They do nice covers of several Flying Burrito Brothers/ Gram Parsons songs and of course the requisite Gordon Lightfoot material. Crowe's banjo is superb as usual. The only complaint for me was the overbearing steel guitar. Although tastefully used on a couple of tracks, I found that I was more annoying and clashed with the banjo, specifically on the faster numbers like "You Can Have Her". Overall the sound is good but a little rough around the edges, especially when compared to the later New South recordings. But this is still an enjoyable CD and one that I am glad is available again!!

Great song selection!! killer singing too

This is one of my favorite albums to listen to, especially when I'm burnt out on Bluegrass standards. The steel guitar and electric bass are really refreshing. Excellent performances by Tony and Larry Rice, and JD, especially Tony's lead singing. And the album is, of course, drenched in three part harmony.

Bluegrass Evolution, J.D. Crowe and the New South
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Customer Ratings