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Chris Sexton

Coffee at Midnight – 2005 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Chris Sexton

Bluegrass fans appreciate the efforts of the sidemen and women - the pickers who share the stage and provide the musical support for the stars. In many bluegrass bands, those lines are blurred. Pinecastle showcases the talents of Chris Sexton (Nothin' Fancy) here.

Sexton's breakout album is a delight for anyone who loves to hear the violin (fiddles don't play Bach). "Coffee at Midnight" transcends genre with an eclectic mix ranging from Bach to Monroe to Knopfler. Sexton plays them all with beauty and talent.

Vocals take a backseat to the instruments on this CD. On the haunting sounds of "Sailing to Philadelphia" the mix could have reinforced the vocals a bit more, but it still comes across as a trip into the past that you'll enjoy. The only number that seems an odd choice is "Eleanor Rigby." Dudley Connell does a good job with the vocals but it doesn't fit well with the overall flavor of the album. There are plenty of mood shifts, going from Monroe's "Brown County Breakdown" to the self-penned Latin beat of "Latin Eyes" and the pop flavors of "Lover's Concerto" (once covered by Doyle Lawson). Perhaps the most beautiful tune is "Last Night in Louisville," a melody that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the well known "Ashokan Farewell." If you like the violin you can't help but enjoy this beautiful album.