IIIrd Tyme Out, the industry's standard-bearer for great bluegrass, has released another exceptional album featuring songs from Bill Monroe and Don Reno. In addition, this project has more original songs than any other recording by the group.
Once again it is the powerful lead vocal of Russell Moore that grabs your attention, but make no mistake - every player in this configuration displays outstanding instrumental virtuosity. The consistent characteristics of IIIrd Tyme Out are impeccable timing, well thought out arrangements, satisfying harmonies and compelling drive.
That compelling drive is especially evident in two rapturous instrumentals, "Bluegrass Special" (Monroe) and "Tennessee Thunder" (original). Wayne Benson's mandolin is spectacular and Moore displays outstanding guitar work. "Your Love Is Like A Rose," another favorite with strong energy was written by Honi Deaton (leader of her own hot bluegrass band, Dream).
The emerging talent of Greg Luck as writer is showcased in his song, "I Won't Be Around" - straight-ahead Bluegrass with his exhilarating fiddle serving as extra icing on the cake. Luck takes the lead vocal on "I Won't Be Around" as well as "A Pretty Wreath For Mother's Grave." Steve Dilling's exuberant banjo work is evident on every track but no more thrilling than in "You Took My Sunshine."
IIIrd Tyme Out gospel selections are always compelling ("Singing On Streets of Gold" was selected No. 2 in the top 10 releases of 2003 by Bluegrass Now.) The recording also contains an impressive "I Will See You On The Other Shore" and "Wade In The Water" with the best bass vocalist in the business, Ray Deaton. Another example of fine harmony can be found in the captivating cover of Reno's "A Pretty Wreath For Mother's Grave."
Recently, when I was on a business trip, a passenger on my plane noticed me listening to a CD and making notes. He struck up a conversation and found it interesting that I wrote reviews for Louisville Music News and Bluegrass Now. He said he was "not really into Bluegrass," but wanted to purchase a recording and asked for my recommendation. I said, "Get anything by IIIrd Tyme out, you won't be disappointed." I stand by that recommendation. This is a band that continues to inspire and amaze.