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The Best Kept Secret

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Album Review

"She Makes Me Want to Sing," the opening track on Jerry Douglass's Best Kept Secret is nothing short of a shock to the system. For starters, Douglass's trademark dobro sound isn't present until nearly a minute in. Second there are twin dirty slide guitars by Keith Sewell and Derek Trucks' (Allman Brothers Band) wailing atop of a fat, fat ugly, nasty bass. It's a hard nasty boogie jam that could be on a Canned Heat album. Whoa. Some sanity returns as Sam Bush and Bela Fleck trade fours with Douglas on "Whose Your Uncle, where progressive stomping bluegrass breakdown takes back the order of the day. But the surprises just continue to mount as Allison Krauss takes the vocal chair on the electric funk jam "Back In Love Again." But it goes off the rails when Douglas and band cover Joe Zawinul's (Weather Report) beautiful ballad "A Remark You made. With Jerry playing the saxophone line on his dobro. It's gorgeous and off-kilter, added to with great depth and sensitivity by Derek Jones' bassline. Other guests on this wild set include Bill Frisell on "Lil Roro" and John Fogerty playing and singing on "Swing Blues No. 1." But it's more than just guests, Douglass's tunes' are in stunning form here, particularly the title track and "U R My Flower." In sum, this will surely piss some people off, but should turn the heads of many others in his direction. Adventure and reckless abandon are the order of the day here and best Kept Secret doesn't disappoint.

Customer Reviews Usual!

Jerry Douglas definitely knows his way around a Dobro! As a member of Union Station he has contributed immensely to the sound of the band. His solo albums are no exception but with a few surprises thrown in. In this latest album, as with his earlier ones, he stretches the boundaries of slide guitar as well as his own inimitable style of resonator guitar playing. In this new album he experiments with different effects. Listening to "You are my Flower" reminds me of the old days when bands like The Rolling Stones experimented with "Back Masking" playing the music in reverse to add a different dimension. I had the distinct honor of meeting Jerry after a Union Station performance in my home town of Eureka Springs, AR and he is not only an incredible musician, but a great guy who has not let his success go to his head. I strongly recommend this album as well as his earlier albums...but be prepared for music that stretches the boundaries of Dobro playing...not all your typical Bluegrass Dobro playing!

Far From A Secret

Everyone in Nashville knows Jerry Douglas . . . and The Station Inn is packed whenever he plays. This album is another in a long string of great music by this formative dobro player. Douglas is a hall of fame player who succeeds in everything he does -- from playing as a sideman, fronting his own "band," or producing great albums for himself and others. What's the best track on this album? For my money it's a toss up between the flaming "Who's Your Uncle" and the surprising rocky collaboration with Allison Krauss on Back In Love (a track that should actually be getting country air play). You will have a hard time going wrong with this album.

A wonderful surprise!

I knew nothing of Jerry Douglas until I heard a piece about him on NPR in the Fall of 2005, but I'm a fan now. The genre is "country" but is this an album for all music lovers. Anyone that doesn't find something wonderful here needs to have their tastebuds checked. Give it a shot. I'll bet you'll enjoy the variety of tempos and styles illustrated here.


Born: May 28, 1956 in Warren, Ohio

Genre: Country

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Jerry Douglas is widely renowned as perhaps the finest Dobro player in contemporary acoustic music. His main foundation is bluegrass, but Douglas is an eclectic whose tastes run toward jazz, blues, folk, and straight-ahead country as well, and he's equally capable of appealing to bluegrass aficionados or new agers with a taste for instrumental roots music. What's more, his progressive sensibility as a composer has earned him comparisons to like-minded virtuosos Béla Fleck and David Grisman. Douglas...
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