Throughout the twenty-plus years that Russell Moore has been leading IIIrd Tyme Out, they have continually provided fans with top-notch bluegrass music. They have occasionally branched into tunes from other genres on various albums, but never as much as they do with their latest release. Their newest record, Timeless Hits from the Past… Bluegrassed, finds the band putting their own spin on numerous country classics (as well as a few of their favorite bluegrass songs). As the latest band to partner with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out are sure to have a lot to offer to both old and new fans.
The album starts off with a smooth, mellow version of the John Hartford tune Gentle on My Mind, which most listeners will be familiar with from the 1967 Glen Campbell cut. This is one of the most bluegrass-sounding songs on the album, with a nice contemporary feel. John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Roads is given a straightforward bluegrass treatment, and could fit in well on many current bluegrass albums. The band also includes updated versions of a couple of their favorite bluegrass standards. Old Home Place and Big Spike Hammer are two of the standout tracks on the album, with Steve Dilling channeling JD Crowe and Moore offering rich, clear vocals.
Some songs are performed much like their country versions: Don Williams’ Tulsa Time has a fun groove, much like the original, and nice guitar work. A more recent tune, Travis Tritt’s Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde, is given somewhat of a classic country feel with the addition of steel guitar, with Moore’s vocals taking on some of the growl which Tritt is known for. Mama Tried is gentler-sounding than Merle Haggard’s original, with some fine mandolin solos featured throughout the song.
Two interesting duets are also included on the album. Sonya Isaacs shares lead vocals with Moore on a stripped-down, smoothly-performed version of the George Jones and Tammy Wynette number one, Golden Ring. In addition, a IIIrd Tyme Out fan favorite from the 1990s, John and Mary, is re-done as a duet with Pam Tillis. While the song is enjoyable, fans of the original might find the duet style somewhat unusual.
Timeless Hits from the Past… Bluegrassed finds Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out offering the stellar instrumental and vocal performances which has won them multiple IBMA awards over the year. They also add in percussion and several electric instruments, which helps intensify the country feel of the album. The band has put together an album which will please those who have followed the group for years, as well as those who may be encountering them for the first time.
The album is available from Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, as well as www.crackerbarrel.com, Amazon, and iTunes.
For more information on Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, visit their website at www.iiirdtymeout.com.