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Don Wayne Reno

Heroes – 1998 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Jonathan Colcord

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CDs by Don Wayne Reno

Don Wayne Reno, son of late bluegrass banjoman Don Reno, offers a tribute with his brothers to his father and others who influenced his learning of the banjo - J.D. Crowe, Sonny Osborne, Allen Shelton, and Ralph Stanley.

These are all songs bluegrass lovers have heard before, but the marvelous aspect is the care in which Reno interprets each song. Each is well played, each note ringing true. Paying tribute to Crowe on "Nashville Skyline Rag," a Bob Dylan composition, Reno successfully captures all of Crowe's nuances. Backed by Dale and Ronnie Reno, with help from Robin Smith on acoustic bass, Joe Roden on drums and Eric Hamilton on harmonica, this is a top-notch band even given it's non-bluegrass attributes. Reno's wife Lori contributes the only vocals heard here on Don Sr.'s waltz "Just A Phone Call Will Do." Among the other tributes are Stanley's "Hard Times," Osborne's "Sledd Ridin," and Shelton's "Shelton Special." If you know someone learning to play banjo, this recording is a must have. A good introduction and a fitting tribute to some of the best banjo pickers in bluegrass.