Brother, What a Great Album

A Tribute To Brother Duets (Pinecastle Records)
Jessie McReynolds & Charlie Whitstein

By Bob Mitchell

Jessie and Charlie still have it - a tip of this reviewer's hat to Pinecastle for bringing these remarkably talented men together. Their voices are strong and filled with affection not only for time-honored selections but also for outstanding brother duets (Delmore, Monroe, Stanley, Wilburn, Louvin Brothers and more).

The focal point of this project is a perfect blending of two seasoned voices accustomed to duets. Every track is substantive and enjoyable. A hardcore traditional country and bluegrass fan will be familiar with most tracks but the songs are given such tasteful treatment you will want to hear them many more times.

The McReynolds-Whitstein harmony is indescribably beautiful and it brought tears to my eyes more than once. "When I Stop Dreaming," and "Are You Missing Me," are pure listening eloquence. McReynolds' mandolin and Dave Salyers' lead guitar are especially bright in "Are You Missing Me." And, McReynolds' tribute to his departed brother, "Gone But Not Forgotten," is heart-rending.

Instrumental support is sparse, yet thoroughly effective. Kent Blanton's bass is subtle and steady. Glenn Duncan's fiddle, as always, is expressive but no more so than on "Kentucky."

On a five-point scale of duet excellence, this release is a five.