Lefty’s Old Guitar – at long last

JD Crowe, Lefty's Old GuitarThis latest release from J.D. Crowe & The New South has been so long in coming that guitarist, vocalist and emcee Ricky Wasson had taken to joking on stage that he wasn’t going to even suggest when it was due out any longer. Fans would know it was available when they saw it on the table.

It has been quite some time since the tracks were recorded and the CD’s release (10/10), owing to concerns about mixing, re-mixing and such technical issues, but all that is moot now, and fans will indeed see it on the table at New South shows, and wherever they purchase bluegrass music.

I had a chance to listen to the CD over the weekend, and one thing in particular stood out. This may seem like a celebration of the obvious, but bear with me: Lefty’s Old Guitar sounds precisely like a recording from J.D. Crowe & The New South. From the choice of material to the arrangements and the performances, this project sounds like there have been no changes in the way bluegrass music is played since Crowe redefined the genre in 1975 with his classic Rounder 0044 album – and that’s not a complaint.

It’s all there: Crowe’s silky banjo playing, with his always-imaginative backup; the two lead vocalists, one a deep baritone and the other a soaring tenor; virtuouso performances all around; a mix of uptempo songs and thoughtful ballads. There’s even one trademark Crowe ending featuring the familiar sort of mildly jarring, unexpected chord change we have heard from them so many times in the past.

Lefty’s Old Guitar features the current New South lineup: Ricky Wasson on guitar and vocal, Dwight McCall on mandolin and vocal, Ron Stewart on fiddle, Harold Nixon on bass, and Crowe on banjo and vocal.

Unfortunately, I could not turn up any audio samples yet online, even on the Rounder, New South and Amazon sites. Nor does it show up yet in Apple’s iTunes Music Store. We’ll keep an eye out, and post an update when some audio samples turn up, as they are sure to do shortly after the official release date hits tomorrow.

UPDATE: Lefty’s Old Guitar is now available in the iTunes Music Store.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • I totally agree with John, this CD sounds exactly like I expected it to. Crowe’s playing is crisp and clean as it’s ever been and his current lineup is every bit as good as his past bands. I have to say it was disconcerting how much one song on the CD, “Too Often Left Alone,” sounds like “Somehow Tonight.” The verse melody is the same and the only thing that saves it is that weird chord change in the chorus. Not that it’s not a perfectly New South-ish song, it’s just I can’t get the other out of my head when I hear it.

  • Yes…we featured the CD last week on Goin’ Across The Mountain and all I can say is…It’s a Masterpiece. I’ll agree with John and said so on air….0044 is all over this recording, and that’s not a bad thing.It may be Mr. Crowe’s best band ever and this project captures that on stage sound just fine.A must have for your Bluegrass collection.

    Dennis Jones
    WNCW-FM
    Spindale NC