Thursday, October 13, 2005

"Brand New Strings" - Ricky Skaggs

Ricky Skaggs, torchbearer for bluegrass music, has come out with his first CD with new music in quite some time. Skaggs has appeared on more than 250 recordings. Even has his own label now, "Skaggs Family Records".

Skagg's music on this album sounds as fresh as if it was his first recording. Ten great vocal songs and three instrumentals. Lots of Ricky's songs are Christian songs or talk about Christian subjects, it was refreshing to see on his song by song sheet, him explaining the importance of being a Christian today. "Love Does It Every time" is a beauty of a song about changed lives and answered prayers. He sounds great singing with his wife Sharon of the Whites.

There are are a wealth of great pickers on this album which ranges from mountain bluegrass to a bit more modern sounding newgrass. Sometimes his vocals are country sounding then sometimes more on the high lonesome side.
"Why Did I Wait So Long?" is a very inspirational gospel bluegrass song with some great harmonies and very strong vocals. It's a true story based on Lester Flatt's conversion to Christianity from a wheelchair and also how he demanded to be baptized in his wheelchair.

Skagg's voice is very pure, easy on the ears, yet emotive and honest. This recording is all acoustic, no drums, very little percussion, yet a very full sound, instrument tones are very realistic, not much post production needed.

This reviewers favorite is "Enjoy The Ride", a Christian song about forgiving yourself as the Lord as forgiven you. An aural treat for your ears and soul. This song really has radio potential. The song emphasizes the need to take one day at a time.
The title track "Brand New Strings" is a guitar pickers dream, great jammin' with all instruments. Great high lonesome harmonies. Story song about a guitar player who used to always play the blues then he switched to bluegrass, hence the lyrics "Johnny's got some brand new strings." Ironically there is a guitar player on this track named Johnny Hyland that Ricky was kinda looking for a song to highlight his talent , well it sure works on all cylinders.

There is an unknown quality about this CD that makes it one of the best CDs that I have heard all year. It is just a great simple emotive recording without all of the special effects that moves you in a special way. The instrumentals are all very good, each having it's own personality. I've highlighted the Christian songs, there are plenty of just great story songs and bluegrass songs that are very good.
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