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Mac Wiseman Sings Gordon Lightfoot

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Album Review

A classic of bluegrass and country crossover, 1977's Mac Wiseman Sings Gordon Lightfoot masterfully matches Wiseman's famous country croon with Lightfoot's old-time country-folk tunes, all with a great backing band including Eddie Adcock on banjo and Clay Smith on acoustic guitar. Wiseman has a real knack for combining down-home flavor with vintage Vegas or Hollywood panache — as on the Willie Nelson-meets-Neil Diamond "Rainy Day People." "Summertime Dream" has a rollicking but pretty arrangement and features Wiseman really belting it out. "For Lovin' Me" and "Early Morning Rain" maybe aren't as deep and emotive as Lightfoot's versions, but Wiseman turns them into shuffling, thoughtful bluegrass tunes with a little more levity than the originals. Finally, "Ribbon of Darkness" is the real winner here — it's Hank Williams, Marty Robbins, and Willie Nelson all wrapped up in a nostalgic two and a half minutes of country and bluegrass. Fans who bought this LP in 1977 are sure to be delighted to find this slice of memory on CD, and for those — whether country or bluegrass fans — who are new to Mac Wiseman, Mac Wiseman Sings Gordon Lightfoot will make a great entry into his canon.

Biography

Born: May 23, 1925 in Crimora, VA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Famed for his clear and mellow tenor voice, Mac Wiseman recorded with many great bluegrass bands, including those of Molly O'Day, Flatt & Scruggs, Bill Monroe, and the Osborne Brothers; his command of traditional material made him much in demand by bluegrass and folk fans alike. Wiseman was born in Crimora, Virginia and grew up influenced by traditional and religious music and such radio stars as Montana Slim Carter. Wiseman started out working as a radio announcer in Harrisonburg in 1944. At the...
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