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Darin & Brooke Aldridge

Snapshots – 2015 (Mountain Home)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Darin & Brooke Aldridge

It's something of a surprise to find that this latest release is the sixth by the husband-and-wife team of Darin and Brooke Aldridge going back to their 2010 self-titled debut. Since marrying and beginning their careers together, they've had a tendency to fly a little bit under the radar as far as national exposure on the bluegrass scene goes.

Darin Aldridge gained some visibility through a stint of nine years with the Country Gentlemen, a truly legendary band of more than a half-century standing. He's a solid guitarist with the knack of not trying to be too flashy, letting the song be his guide.

In an age when more and more of the young female vocalists coming into bluegrass are trying to emulate the wispy and breathless qualities of Alison Krauss (though Krauss can peg the meters when she has a mind to), Brooke Aldridge seems to have gravitated more toward the Rhonda Vincent way of things, with a clear strong voice, lively phrasing and maybe even a little higher octane than Vincent herself.

It's fun to listen to her power through material like "Get Up John," but she also changes gears nicely for off-beat fare like Gillian Welch's "Annabelle" and Johnny Cash's "Tennessee Flat-Top Box." Her harmony parts over Darin's lead on tunes like "Better Place" are also nicely done, and their duet with guitar-only backup on Uncle Dave Macon's "Wait Till The Clouds Roll By" is perhaps the standout track, a sweet take on a song by a man whose reputation tended toward the raucous, hard-edged country life. Or maybe it's their version of an Everly hit, "Let It Be Me," also exquisitely done. Call it a tossup.

There's plenty of straight-ahead bluegrass here as well, though. They have a solid band behind them on tracks like Bill Monroe's "My Rose of Old Kentucky," Eddie Adcock's "Let's" and "Will You Be Ready," a Darin original.

"Snapshots" is a nicely varied collection that highlights their strengths.