Includes liner notes by Marty Godbey.
Personnel: Dudley Connell, Mary Gibbons, Jim Hurst, Kathy Kallick, Lynn Morris, Alice Gerrard, Suzanne Thomas, Wilma Lee Cooper (vocals, guitar); Gene Wooten (vocals, dobro); Beth Stevens (vocals, banjo); Don Rigsby, Rhonda Vincent, Tom Rozum (vocals, mandolin); Laurie Lewis, Alison Krauss (vocals, fiddle); Ronnie Bowman (vocals, electric bass); Claire Lynch, Delia Bell, Douglas Stevens, Ginny Hawker, Hazel Dickens, Evelyn Cox, Sidney Cox, Phyllis Boyens, April Stevens, Suzanne Cox, Terry Smith , Bill Grant, Todd Phillips, Carol Elizabeth Jones, Carolee Cooper (vocals); Ron Block (guitar, banjo); Kenny Smith , Jeff White, Pete Kennedy, Bryan Sutton (guitar); Roger Williams , Rob Ickes (dobro); Richard Underwood, Lamar Grier, Marc Pruett, Sammy Shelor, Stanley Brown, Tom Adams, Tony Furtado, Michael McLain (banjo); Ron Stewart (mandolin, fiddle); Larry Lynch (mandolin, background vocals); David McLaughlin, Adam Steffey, John Reischman, Mike Seeger, Barry Mitterhoff, Wayne Benson (mandolin); Clarence "Tater" Tate, Eddie Stubbs, Mike Hartgrove, Stuart Duncan, Tracy Schwarz (fiddle); Barry Bales, Ronnie Simpkins (acoustic bass).
Liner Note Author: Marty Godbey.
Photographer: Rick Olivier.
The latest in a lengthening string of releases designed to benefit from association with the Coen brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou? is this all-girl bluegrass compilation, which features on its cover the requisite stubbly cornfield and archaic font style. Opportunistic as the packaging may be, there's no arguing with the quality of the content. Generously packed with outstanding performances by women as stylistically disparate as Hazel Dickens, Claire Lynch, and Kathy Kallick, O Sister is a delightful celebration of several generations of criminally unheralded female bluegrass artists. The highlights are many, but particular standout tracks include Rhonda Vincent's rocking "Lonesome Wind Blues," the hard-edged mountain sound of Phyllis Boyens (backed up by Hazel Dickens and the Johnson Mountain Boys), and the clawhammer banjo-powered "Comin' Down From God" by the relatively unknown Carol Elizabeth Jones. The usual suspects are here too, of course, including Alison Krauss (on the exquisitely gentle and sweet "Every Time You Say Goodbye") and the Cox Family (twice). You might buy this one because you feel guilty about the way women have been neglected in the bluegrass world, but you'll keep coming back to it because the songs are just so dang good. ~ Rick Anderson