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Charlie Sizemore

Heartache Looking for a Home – 2011 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Donald Teplyske

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CDs by Charlie Sizemore

From start to finish, Charlie Sizemore's "Heartache Looking for a Home" is a potent bluegrass album. With a voice that would be equally effective in country music, Sizemore is very much the Vern Gosdin of the bluegrass world: a favorite of fellow singers and instrumentalists, he is seemingly underappreciated by the masses.

Recording with his touring band - bluegrass Danny Barnes (mandolin, clawhammer banjo), Matt DeSpain (Dobro), Josh McMurray (banjo) and John Pennell (bass) - this Sizemore-produced project features minimal guest appearances. Ron Stewart fiddles throughout while Sizemore's former boss Ralph Stanley sings harmony on Red Wicked Wine.

As was 2007's very strong "Good News," this is full of terrific songs, several rescued from semi-obscurity and all firmly within bluegrass traditions.

Kentucky songwriter Sonny Tackett's Down in the Quarter opens the album and establishes the album's over-arching theme - lamentations for missed opportunity. I Don't Remember Loving You was one of John Conlee's Top 10 songs and Walking the Floor Over Me is an Alan Jackson album track. As is typical, Sizemore includes another Tom T. Hall tune, this time going back to 1973 for Pay No Attention to Alice.

Arguably one of the most complete bands on the circuit, Sizemore's quartet do their leader proud throughout. DeSpain contributes the jaunty instrumental Fords of Pittman, and Barnes sings lead on Poor Rambler. With Keith Nixon, Pennell contributes the inspired Feelin' Like El Paso while McMurray always impresses on the 5.

Ripe with heartache, regret and no small amount of cleverness, "Heartache Looking for a Home" maintains the momentum Sizemore has generated since joining forces with Rounder.