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Album Review

One of best developments within contemporary bluegrass has been the inclusion of more women, whether they have led their own bands like Alison Krauss or mixed it up with musicians of the opposite sex like the Dixie Bee-Liners. For one, this inclusion means more variety in lead vocal styles, but just as important, it allows for a great deal of breadth and depth in harmony. Both Brandi Hart's lead voice and Rachel Renee Johnson's harmony, together with the voice of Buddy Woodward, provide the Dixie Bee-Liners with a distinctive vocal style with lots of elasticity. The opener, "Down the Crooked Road," namechecks bluegrass greats and offers the group's contemporary rendition of the genre; "The Bugs in the Basement," on the other hand, might be closer to contemporary folk as exemplified by the Be Good Tanyas and others. The real roots lover might complain that the group lacks the grit of either the bluegrass greats it references, or the edgy style of the Be Good Tanyas. And while this complaint has some validity, the simple production and finely recorded acoustic sound of Ripe never sounds like it's been tweaked for radio. The Dixie Bee-Liners mix of folk and bluegrass, and the variety of the vocal arrangements within both styles, make Ripe much more interesting than the average contemporary bluegrass band fronted by a twangy, country-flavored male. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Ripe, The Dixie Bee-Liners
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Country, Music
  • Released: 2007

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