Back and Better Than Ever

More Behind The Picture Than The Wall (Rounder)
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

By Bob Mitchell

More Behind the Pictureis a secular follow-up to Lawson's critically acclaimed You Gotta Dig A Little Deeper (Rounder, 2005). And, once again, his latest release clearly demonstrates these men lead the pack when it comes to superior instrumental proficiency and pristine harmonies. For three decades DLQ has blended traditional bluegrass, classic country and southern gospel into a unique and thoroughly enjoyable sound. For additional evidence, we only need to return to September 2006 when Lawson was presented with a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship award that recognizes artistic excellence in cultural authenticity and contributions to one's field.

Lawson's most recent recording, like all previous albums, showcases a balance between exceptional originals and exemplary covers. Original songs include an energetic "Mississippi River Let Your Water Flow," "Just Lovin' You" (the story of a one sided love), "When The Blues Are Movin' In" (a lovely waltz with spine tingling harmony) and the dazzling instrumental "Tulsa Turn-A-Round."

There continues to be a great deal of discussion about what constitutes bluegrass music. A fine example of this particular American art form can be found in Connie Leigh's "Sadie's Got Her New Dress On" and Donald Kees' "What Ever Happened to Us." The three-part harmony on Leon Payne's "The Selfishness of Man" is as finely tuned as any you're likely to hear. The disc closes with not one, but two versions of Dixie and Tom T. Hall's old-timey "Can You Hear Me Now." Both takes hearken back to the sounds of the Blue Sky Boys being played on an old scratchy 78 rpm record.

Every track displays exquisite leadership and mandolin virtuosity from Lawson, pleasing vocal interplay, the high-lonesome sound of primary lead singer Jamie Dailey, the legendary driving banjo of Terry Baucom, masterful bow work from Mike Hartgrove and a solid bass line from Darren Beachley. On a five-point scale of excellence this release merits a five. Lawson has another winner.

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