A School of Bluegrass (2 CD set / 50 tracks) Crossroads
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

By Bob Mitchell

Two-thousand-four has been a excellent year for one of bluegrass music's most distinguished artist, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. Not only did he celebrate his 25th anniversary in bluegrass, but also he received five prestigious IBMA nominations: "Entertainer of the Year," "Mandolin Player of the Year," "Vocal Group of the Year," Album of the Year" (for School of Bluegrass) and "Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year" (for "Thank God," which was reviewed in the March Issue of Louisville Music News).

This project is also Lawson's first-ever Billboard chart appearance at number #11. It is a rare glimpse into invaluable and previously unreleased recordings from Lawson's private collection of rehearsal and concert tapes. It's thrilling to listen to thirteen configurations of Quicksilver and the evolution of Lawson's patented trademark, tight harmony. Though the lineup has changed over the years, each group maintained the highest standards of professionalism and artistic vision. A sampling of phenomenal band members you will hear are: Russell Moore, Ray Deaton, Jim Mills, Terry Baucom, Jimmy Haley, Scott Vestel, Mike Hargrove, Randy Graham, Shawn Lane, Barry Abernathy, Steve Gully, Jimmy VanCleve, Dale Perry, Hunter Berry, Barry Scott, Brad Campbell, Lou Reid, Jimmy Stewart, Dale Perry, and J.W. Stockman. Astounding.

This release has it all! Rip-roaring instrumentals include "Big Country," "Up On The Blue Ridge," "Leather Britches," "Sally Goodin'"(with Doyle on banjo), "Careless Love," "Twinkle Little Star" and more. Spine tingling gospel and a capella favorites include "The Little Community Church," "Jezebel," "Every Time I Feel The Spirit," "Move To The Top of the Mountain," "The Prince Of Peace" (the first a capella song Lawson recorded), "I Feel Happy In My Soul Today," "Lay Your Burdens At His Feet," "Ezekiel Saw The Wheel," and more. There is so much music and so little print space, but other extraordinary tracks that deserve a mention are "Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong," "Tennessee Banjo Man," "Your Crazy Heart," "Heartbreak Insurance," "You'll Never Be The Same," "Amber Tresses," and "I Know The Way To You By Heart."

Incredible skills are evident on each cut of this stunning series of recordings. The rhythmic drive is distinctive and vocals are consistently powerful. "School" is a formidable release with a mixture of structure and spontaneity. It short, it is an exuberant listening experience. There can be no doubt that Lawson and Quicksilver will influence the next generation of musicians. On a five point scale of excellence, this release is a six. For more information go to www.doylelawson.com or www.commotionpr.com or www.crossroadsmusic.net