Full performer name: The Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show.
Personnel includes: Karl Shiflett (vocals, guitar); Randy Lindley (vocals, mandolin); Chuck Westerman (vocals, fiddle).
Includes liner notes by Sonny Osborne.
Personnel: Karl Shiflett (vocals, guitar); Jim Lauderdale (vocals).
Audio Mixers: Karl Shiflett; Carey Wise.
Liner Note Author: Sonny Osborne.
Recording information: Fourth Creation Studio, Conroe, TX; Hilltop Recording Studios, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: Richard Boyd.
From the first bit of fiddling on Worries on My Mind, Karl Shiflett and company seem to know what they're about. The guitar, banjo, and dobro jump right in, followed by Shiflett's backwoods vocals and a distinct blend of harmony on each chorus. Some would just call it old-fashioned bluegrass and leave it at that, but there's a flavor that strikes a well-met balance between Jimmy Martin and blues-flavored country. Andy Ruff's dobro occasionally sounds like a laptop steel out of an old Hank Williams song, and a number of banjoist Jake Jenkins' songs mine the honky tonk terrain like there's no tomorrow. "If I Could Take You Home" is a rousing ode to true love and infidelity, while "Turn Around" will make the listener long for an old scratchy Ernest Tubb record. Even the instrumentals -- "Bobo's Boogie" and "Hoss Fly" -- impress, and the band's cover of "I Still Miss Someone" is raggedly fresh. The odd track out is "How Wrong a Man Can Be," sung by Jim Lauderdale. It isn't a bad song, and Lauderdale's a fine singer, but his style seems much more modern than Shiflett's. It's easy to get the impression with so many retro bands -- be they bluegrass, rock, or jazz -- that the players are simply going through the motions. The moment the laser hits the disc on Worries on My Mind, however, it's evident that the Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show are the real deal. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr.