Thursday, June 23, 2011

This Week in Sugar Hill History: Common Ground

Twelve years ago, Sugar Hill Records released the rich, progressive Bluegrass album, “Common Ground” by the group Blueridge.

"Back in the 1970s and '80s, "progressive" bluegrass more often than not meant three things: an electric bass, lots of melodic Trischka/Keith-style banjo, and cover versions of rock & roll songs like "Lay Down Sally" or, in one embarrassing case, "Why Must I Be a Teenager in Love?." In the late 90s there was a new breed of progressive bluegrass players on the scene, of which Blueridge is a good example. The group's sound is deeply rooted in traditional bluegrass, with rich four-part harmonies and a relatively straight-ahead playing style. But with Common Ground, the group presents a program consisting entirely of newly written songs -- no "Uncle Pen," no "Flint Hill Special." That's unusual even for most newgrass bands. And the songs themselves often depart considerably from the three-chord orthodoxy of traditional bluegrass, as on the fairly sophisticated "Talk It Out" and the complicated arrangement of "Appalachian Queen," a train song that incorporates elements of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" but demonstrates an innovative approach to solo placement. The singing is consistently excellent, as are the songs. Highly recommended". ~ Rick Anderson

Wayne Winkle (vocals, guitar); Terry Baucom (vocals, banjo); Alan Bibey (vocals, mandolin); Randy Graham (vocals, bass).

Buy mp3 album Here

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