Summary

The Mountain (E-Squared / ADA)
Steve Earle and The Del McCoury Band

By Bob Mitchell

Earle is backed up by the Del McCoury band, and let me tell you, these men serve up some mighty fine music. Earle penned all fourteen tracks and most cuts feature his very distinctive, slightly slurry, singing. Throughout the release, there is superb musicianship. The McCoury brothers, Ronnie (mandolin) and Rob (banjo) are as slick as greased lightening.

A strange-looking cover and weird graphics caused me to wonder about what I might hear from this CD, but you can not tell a book by its cover. This project has been nominated by the International Bluegrass Music Association for Recorded Event of the Year and could easily be the 1999 IBMA winner. Earle is backed up by the Del McCoury band, and let me tell you, these men serve up some mighty fine music. McCoury and his band have received eleven IBMA nominations this year, including Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist, instrumental Group, and Album of the Year.

Earle penned all fourteen tracks and most cuts feature his very distinctive, slightly slurry, singing. The liner notes say he hopes to write a song that will be "performed by at least one band at every bluegrass festival in the world long after I have followed Mr. Bill out of this world." He may get his wish, because this release provides at least seven songs worth considering: "Graveyard Shift,""I'm Still in Love With You,""Texas Eagle,""Carrie Brown,""Yours Forever Blue,""Lonesome Highway" and a soulful, group sing-a-long show-closer, "Pilgrim."

Throughout the release, there is superb musicianship. The McCoury brothers, Ronnie (mandolin) and Rob (banjo) are as slick as greased lightening. Jason Carter's fiddle, as always, is right on target. Mike Bub's old doghouse bass is exceptional, especially when he goes into slapping mode. In addition, a group of high rollers, including Sam Bush, Iris DeMent, Jerry Douglas, Benny Martin, Emmy Lou Harris, Tim O'Brien, Stuart Duncan, Peter Rowan and more, lends a hand on the closing number. The names! This is a great CD and you will like it more each time you listen.