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Darol Anger and Republic Of Strings

Generation Nation – 2006 (Compass)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Darol Anger and Republic Of Strings

From Montreux to the Turtle Island String Quartet and the David Grisman Quintet, fiddler Darol Anger has been on the cutting edge of acoustic music for decades. This second album from his latest project, Republic Of Strings, uses aspects of all of his previous work in the context of a virtuoso group of string band musicians.

If Anger is the president of this acoustic republic, then guitarist Scott Nygaard is the prime minister, at least. His fingerpicking is at turns delicate and forceful as the song dictates, and just as in most traditional string band music, the guitar provides the rhythmic foundation throughout.

The songs presented range from near-classical ("When You Go") to faux traditional ("Polska Upstairs") and a pair of tunes plucked from classic rock - Buffalo Springfield's "Bluebird," and Aretha Franklin's "Chain Of Fools." The guest vocalists featured on these and a handful of other tracks acquit themselves well, but the star of the show is still the artfully arranged, all-acoustic instrumentation.