Hard core fans of bluegrass supergroup Seldom Scene are inclined to the sort of internecine squabbles that occur among folks fiercely loyal to their favorite sports team. To wit, the familiar arguments about which edition of the team was the best, and whether the boys on the field in the 60s would have beaten those from the 80s.
For Scene fans, the disputes are about whether the original band (Starling, Auldridge, Eldridge, Duffey and Gray) has ever been eclipsed by the many fine lineups that followed, or the first rate band now performing under that name, with Ben Eldridge the sole founding member on stage.
Taking no side in this dispute, I can predict that Seldom Scene originalists will have much to cheer in the February release of Slidin’ Home, from John Starling & Carolina Star. In addition to Starling, the band includes Scene founders Mike Auldridge and Tom Gray, plus Jimmie Gaudreau and Ricky Simpkins.
They were assisted on the new CD by Emmy Lou Harris, who has been a long time duet partner with Starling. She joins him on In My Hour Of Darkness, a song she co-wrote with Gram Parsons. Other tracks include Starling’s take on Lowell George’s classic anthem, Willin’ and Waitin’ For A Train.
Starling says that they dedicated a lot of effort to utilizing modern recording technology in ways that would enhance a live, living room sort of feel.
"For the new project, we felt that modern, high-resolution digital recording and mixing techniques, a good acoustic environment and musician practice prior to, not on, recording day, would once again make the process fun for everybody. And I knew Mike and Tom were the type of world-class musicians who could pull this off.
We were able to really capture the energy and excitement that comes from playing live. We had really high expectations going into this, but I think the new record exceeds everything we wanted to accomplish."
There are a couple of audio samples from Slidin’ Home on the band’s MySpace page, which also lists some show dates where the band will be appearing next year.
Slidin’ Home is scheduled for a February 20, 2007 release on Rebel Records. Radio service is anticipated shortly after the new year.