This 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.