A Living Legend is Back

Tom T. Hall Sings Miss Dixie and Tom T. (Blue Circle Records)
Tom T. Hall

By Bob Mitchell

Expressive songs about life and familiar situations flow like an endless stream from Tom T and his life partner, Miss Dixie. Their voluminous body of work has influenced and will continue to influence untold numbers of musicians. Originality oozes from their every pore and fans of traditional country and bluegrass will find few, if any, historical equals.

This project, originally a gift for Dixie, is also a gift for the world because it will last forever. Listeners can expect countless hours of musical enjoyment from an unpretentious recording. In short, it is straightforward, good-ol'-home-grown bluegrass from a living legend. Warning: The repeat button will get a work out, count on it.

Hall surrounded himself with world class musicians: Terry Eldredge, Don Rigsby, Robert Bowlin on rhythm guitar; Earl Scruggs, Kristin Scott Benson and Tim White on banjo; Mike Bubb and Ben Isaacs on bass; Glen Duncan on fiddle; Wayne Benson and Rigsby on mandolin; Randy Kohrs on Dobro; Sonya Isaacs, Rebecca Isaacs Bowman, Rigsby and Josh Williams on background vocals. Although it would be easy for these men and woman to take center stage, they allow the spotlight to shine on the Hall's vocal presentation. The musicians play extraordinarily well on every track but, more importantly, they never overpower the lyrics. The camaraderie between band and Hall result in a thoroughly satisfying recording. I especially enjoyed Glen Duncan's consistently amazing bow work.

Two very special songs are "One Of Those Days When I Miss Lester Flatt" (featuring Earl Scruggs on banjo) and "Jimmy Martin's Life Story" (featuring Martin's voice and guitar). Other outstanding tracks include the touching stories

"A Headstone for Harry" and "Pretty Green Hills"; a poignant tribute to a fallen soldier ("A Hero in Harlan"); a light-hearted "I'm Gonna Make Up A Song About You," "Our Little World," "Somewhere In Kentucky Tonight" and "Once Upon A Road"

Inquiring minds want to know how the Halls continue to come up with lyrics and melodies. I have no idea how they do it but I'm certain they are a musical gift for the ages and we are fortunate to be living in their time. Highly recommended. On a five-point scale of excellence this release merits a five.

For more information go to www.bluecirclerecords.com

or www.goodhomegrownmusic.com.