Tuesday, June 19, 2012


The great king of the dobro does the star turn here, with an album full of stars, friends and admirers.  Usually these things are overblown, and merely attempts at grabbing attention for sales.  But there's the rare one that shines, and this is one of them.  The luminaries include Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Paul Simon, Keb' Mo, Bela Fleck, Mumford & Sons, and of course his band mates in Alison Krauss & Union Station.  It's pure class all the way through, and as you'd expect, chalk full of tasty licks from Douglas himself, with some good sparring with the other players.

Clapton does a great, laid-back guest vocal on Something You Got, the old Chris Kenner hit done by everybody from B.B. King to Springsteen, but usually as a flamboyant number.  Here the duo pour on the honey instead.  The big attention track will no doubt be the version of The Boxer, featuring both Mumford & Sons, and the songs' author, Paul Simon.  Simon's a big Douglas fan, and has had him open tours for him of late, and even snuck onstage at a Douglas show three nights ago in New York.  Simon's barely noticeable on the track though, but its a nice Mumford vocal, and again, another cool solo from Douglas.

Really, I can listen to the guy play all day, such is the fluidity and charm of his stuff.  And while all the stars are cool, the instrumentals work just as well.  These things smoke.  Douglas on his own is a treat whether you like bluegrass or not, and really this disc is more blues and folk than his gig with Union Station.  And there's a big surprise waiting for long-time fans; for the first time in his career, Douglas steps to the mic, singing the lead track, Leadbelly's On A Monday.  Turns out he's got a pretty good voice, too.  First class stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment