A Prime Tyme for IIIrd Tyme Out

It’s a “Prime Tyme” to be a fan of Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. Having been around for twenty plus years, many groups of this caliber would start to slow down. They’ve won nearly every award imaginable in our industry, and have no need to prove anything to anybody, so why not slow down a bit? That’s what’s expected from a group of veterans, right?

Well, thankfully, this is not the case. After this year’s IBMA Awards Show, where the band won one award and were nominated for eight, it’s plain to see that this band is no where near ready to start “slowing down.”

Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out have just released a brand new album on Rural Rhythm Records. Prime Tyme is just that: IIIrd Tyme Out in their prime!

The record kicks off with a new tune sure to resonate with many bluegrass fans. Old Kentucky Farmers will remind many listeners of their grandfathers, and have them yearning for a simpler time. It’s tunes such as this that have kept IIIrd Tyme Out in the spotlight for so long: songs that fans can relate to.

Another key to IIIrd Tyme Out’s success has been their vocal prowess, and this album is no exception. What would you expect from a band who has been named IBMA’s Vocal Group of the Year seven times? Or from Russell Moore, a four-time Male Vocalist of the Year? Obviously, Moore’s vocal work is nothing less than magical; would we expect anything else? Bass man, Edgar Loudermilk, showcases his ability to sing lead on Hooverville. The new album showcases the band’s stellar harmonies on songs such as Goodbye Old Missoula, Little Magnolia, and Dusty.

Even though this group is primarily known for its killer vocals, they are still equally talented instrumentally. Numbers such as Carroll County Blues and Sugarfoot Rag really demonstrate how proficient the band as a whole are when it comes to picking. Sugarfoot Rag, in particular, is a standout. The group took this Jerry Reed standard and used it to showcase their strengths across the board. It begins as a medium-tempo vocal, but ends as a rip-roarin’ instrumental.

Another number which shows this group’s versatility is Moon Magic. This song has a Western swing feel, and the band executes it with ease. The melody is catchy, and will be stuck in fans’ heads all day.

Other standouts on the project are Pretty Little Girl From Galax, Whippoorwill, and Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar. Pretty Little Girl From Galax and Whippoorwill are new tunes, which sound very “old school.” With driving instrumental work and straightforward lyrics, these are modern day standards. The band’s rendition of Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar is quite original. One of the most-beloved tunes from the expansive catalog of the Delmore Brothers, this tune has been done by The Louvin Brothers, Doc Watson, and The Traditional Grass, among others. What makes Wayne Benson’s arrangement unique, by turning this tune into an uptempo number, it gives the number the ability to highlight instrumental breaks, rather than primarily focusing on duet harmonies.

This stellar project wraps up with a great ballad which will remind fans of some of the band’s early hits such as Erase The Miles. The song is a reflection on society today, but steers clear of political poles. Most will find What’s This World Coming To? refreshing, and many will agree with its sentiment.

This album has something for each of us. With many great originals, sprinkled with just the right amount of tasteful covers, the material on Prime Tyme has all the ingredients to be a classic bluegrass album.

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About the Author

Daniel Mullins

Daniel is from southwestern Ohio and has been around bluegrass his entire life. He manages the Classic Country Connection, a music store in southern Ohio which specializes in bluegrass, classic country, gospel, and Americana music. He is the host of the Bending The Strings radio program, which plays a variety of bluegrass, newgrass, and Americana music. He also maintains the website for Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers.

photo by LuAnn Adams