New Age & Avant Garde    VARIOUS ARTISTS    World Music at Global Rhythm - The Destination for World Music


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World Music CD Reviews New Age & Avant Garde

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Various Artists
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN
Compass

By MARTY LIPP

Published March 24, 2006

This collection is subtitled Bluegrass, Newgrass And Beyond, conjuring images of bowdlerized bluegrass with a bent toward the avant-garde. The reality is that the collected music takes bluegrass mainstream by shaking a bit of the hay from its raw, backwoods sound. The music, though excellently produced, is not commercialized and slick. It’s still played meticulously, merging bluegrass with jazz and pop; some tunes even sounding a bit like southern rock. The CD is actually a compilation from the Nashville-based Compass label—featuring one of the label’s founders on several tracks—but that’s not bad news. Founded by banjo player Alison Brown and bassist Garry West, Compass has been a haven for great roots musicians. While several cuts are straightforward instrumental bluegrass well played, just as many include vocals. Overall, the mood is bright and breezy, creating a hypnotic swing throughout. There’s serious playing going on, but that doesn’t stop it from being easygoing fun.

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