Fiddle Patch (Rounder)

Bobby Hicks

By Bob Mitchell

When most folks fiddle around, they're wasting time but that's not true with Bobby Hicks. From the first moment the laser hits the CD, this project grabs your attention. Hicks' blazing rendition of "Katy Hill" also contains a blistering guitar solo from Bryan Sutton. In fact, my fingers were sore from listening! On the joy-of-Bluegrass listening scale, this release is a ten.

For the most part Fiddle Patch is one fine instrumental after another. However, Del McCoury lends his distinctive high lonesome vocals on two tracks. "We're Steppin' Out Tonight" is a new cover for Don Gibson's classic recording. In addition, Marty Stuart provides background vocals and mandolin "Oh, What A Silent Night"

Every fiddle recording must contain a waltz or two and Johnny Gimble's "Gardenia Waltz" is a delight for the ear. Another beautiful three-quarter-time tune is "Angel's Waltz" (a Hicks original).

"Comanche Hit and Run" sounds like the kissin' cuzzin' to Bill Monroe's "Jerusalem Ridge." What makes this track different is the introduction of Pat McInerney and the bluegrass tom-tom.

For years, "Whiskey Before Breakfast" has been a staple of Celtic music. Now, thanks to Hicks, this sparkling instrumental may be heard at more Bluegrass Festivals.

Bobby, a self-taught fiddler, was with Bill Monroe in the 1950s, the Bluegrass Album Band in the '80s and with Ricky Skaggs for sixteen years. He's a seasoned professional along with some of the finest sidemen in the business today. Rob McCoury, Charlie Cushman and Craig Smith provide energetic banjos. Bryan Sutton's incredible guitar work defies description. Mark Fain's bass is solid and steady. Ronnie McCoury is on mandolin. What else can be said about the premiere mandolinist? There are also cameo appearance from Ricky Skaggs and Buddy Spicher.

For more information about Hicks or to obtain a copy of this CD write to Traci Todd, 402 Dover Glen Dr, Antioch TN 37013, or e-mail tmtodd@gowebway.com.