Among the forthcoming releases from Rounder Records is Bobby Osborne’s third album for the label. Entitled Bluegrass & Beyond (Rounder 0603), the CD is scheduled to be available for general purchase on March 31.
For this 12-track album, Osborne, with his band The Rocky Top X-Press, mixes straight ahead bluegrass, some soulful Gospel and a couple of traditional country songs.
The sound of Glen Duncan’s fiery fiddling kicks off the opening track, Let’s Sing Our Song, and, along with Osborne’s mandolin playing and Dana Cupp’s driving banjo, he stands out as providing some of the brighter instrumental moments on the CD. The vocal harmonies on Let’s Sing Our Song are pleasing also. Osborne is vocally assured, sufficiently so sing tenor as well as lead on many tracks, despite his 76 years.
What Would You Give In Exchange For Your Soul perhaps fits into all three categories. The arrangement begins with a typical brother-duet coupling of Osborne with guest Marty Stuart before the band kicks in and Country great Connie Smith replaces her husband as one of the vocalists.
Contemporary bluegrass is represented by A Wise Man’s Mind Will Change, a song by Larry Cordle & Jim Rushing, about the intransigence of a fool, and You Can, a reflection on the sharpness of a woman’s tongue (Glen Duncan & Jerry Salley).
Definitely traditional Country is After the Fire Is Gone, which has two more guests, Rhonda Vincent and brother Darrin, in an up-dated version of the Loretta Lynn/Conway Twitty ode to love gone cold.
Certainly in the ‚Äòbeyond’ category is Jerry Reed’s Let’s Sing Our Song, a song from the Eagles’ repertoire, Girl from Yesterday, and Eddie Rabbit’s Country-politan, Driving My Life Away.
The album ends with Chris Stuart’s Civil War ballad Shenandoah Wind, and then the Gospel number Way Up On The Mountain, written by Ira Louvin and Anne Young and which is, incidentally, from Connie Smith’s repertoire.
Rounding out the set is a Bobby Osborne instrumental Hyden, named after his place of birth, of course.
The Rocky Top X-Press are Bobby Osborne, Jr. (guitar and bass), Derrell Mosley (bass), Cupp, Glen Duncan (fiddle, guitar and banzooki) and Matt DeSpain (resonator guitar). Marty Stuart guests on guitar for What Would You Give In Exchange.
Production is by Glen Duncan and Bobby Osborne.