The Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration: A Classic Bluegrass Tribute (2-CD)
by Various Artists
- Number of Discs: 2
- Released: August 23, 2011
- Label: Rounder / Umgd
Tracks on Disc 1:
- 1.The Bluegrass Album BandTall Timber
- 2.The GrascalsWill You Be Loving Another Man
- 3.Michael ClevelandDark As the Night, Blue As the Day
- 4.Tony RiceCheyenne
- 5.Dailey & VincentClose By
- 6.Joe Val & The New England Bluegrass BoysI Hear a Sweet Voice Calling
- 7.Wyatt RiceShenandoah Breakdown
- 8.Claire LynchMy Florida Sunshine
- 9.Nashville Bluegrass BandI'm Blue I'm Lonesome
- 10.Ricky SkaggsToy Heart
- 11.The Bluegrass Album BandWheel Hoss
- 12.The Bluegrass Album BandOn the Old Kentucky Shore
- 13.Al JonesCome Back To Me In My Dreams
- 14.Blue HighwayWicked Path of Sin
Tracks on Disc 2:
- 1.Michael ClevelandOld Brown Country Barn
- 2.The Vern Williams BandYou'd Better Get Right
- 3.Joe Val & The New England Bluegrass BoysVoice From On High
- 4.The Bluegrass Album BandLonesome Moonlight Waltz
- 5.Nashville Bluegrass BandDog House Blues
- 6.The Johnson Mountain BoysWalls of Time
- 7.Tony RiceBig Mon
- 8.IIIrd Tyme OutFootprints In the Snow
- 9.Michael Cleveland and FlamekeeperJerusalem Ridge
- 10.Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-PressMansions For Me
- 11.Ralph StanleyIn Despair
- 12.Nashville Bluegrass BandYou're Drifting Away
- 13.Hazel DickensTrue Life Blues
- 14.Joe Val & The New England Bluegrass BoysGoodbye Old Pal
Tributee: Bill Monroe.
Liner Note Author: Bill Nowlin.
Photographer: Carl Fleischhauer.
The Rounder compilation Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration: A Classic Bluegrass Tribute anticipates what might have been the 100th birthday of the father of bluegrass music (September 13, 2011) by delving into the label's archives for 28 songs credited to Monroe (even if, as Bill Nowlin points out in his excellent liner notes, those tunes were occasionally adapted from older sources or even purchased from other songwriters) and performed by a bevy of his descendents, including Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, and Dan Tyminski. The heavy lifting is actually performed by such multiple participants as the Bluegrass Album Band (with five selections), Michael Cleveland, and Joe Val & the New England Bluegrass Boys (with three each). Since Monroe is honored as the founder of bluegrass, those who play it are almost forced to copy him in the instrumentation of his band -- mandolin, fiddle, guitar, bass -- and in his high tenor vocals, and the artists here largely do that. When, for instance, a piano is heard on Skaggs' version of "Toy Heart," it's almost a shock, and the female vocals of Hazel & Alice on "True Life Blues" also constitute a novelty. But bluegrass is a virtuoso music, too, giving the instrumentalists leave to shine on their fast-paced solos, especially on the instrumentals, such as the lead-off track, the Bluegrass Album Band's "Tall Timber." And sometimes, there's actually a competition to replicate Monroe's high, lonesome vocal sound, as on "Dark as the Night, Blue as the Day," in which Cleveland, Tyminski, and Gill all take their turns. Nowlin estimates the number of Monroe's compositions at between 225 and 250, so this collection represents only a little over ten-percent of his output. Still, it's a good representation of his music as played by some of his most ardent followers. ~ William Ruhlmann
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