Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Week in Sugar Hill History: Back to Red River (1993)

18 years ago this week Sugar Hill Records released the album “Back to Red River”, by the group Front Range.

“Front Range was one of the best progressive bluegrass bands on the scene in part because it probably didn't consider itself a progressive bluegrass band. There are no Bob Dylan or Eric Clapton covers, no drums or electric basses, no extended Phish-style jams -- just exceptional songs (many of them penned by guitarist and bandleader Bob Amos) played and sung with a smooth intensity that manages simultaneously to sound up-to-the-minute and deeply rooted in the high lonesome verities. Because the band hails from western Colorado (hence its name), you'll hear a few more cowboy songs on their albums than on the typical bluegrass release, but that ends up working in their favor as well. Their unique take on "Red River Valley" starts this album off with a gentle bang, and Amos' original songs are top-notch as always. But Back to red River hits its peaks on the two traditional numbers: a gorgeous a capella arrangement of the gospel standard "Over in the Gloryland" and a high-octane romp through the classic "Sunny Side of Life". The band's instrumental chops are worth noting: banjo picker Ron Lynam is in particularly fine form on this outing, alternating gracefully between traditional Scruggs-style picking and cascading melodic licks, and Amos rips off a few impressive guitar leads as well. Highly recommended overall”. - Rick Anderson

Bob Amos (guitar, vocals), Mike Lantz (mandolin, vocals), Ron Lynam (banjo, vocals, guitar), Bob Dick (acoustic bass, vocals).

Buy the album here

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