Rarely Herd - Part of Growing Up
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Part of Growing Up (Pinecastle, 2000)

Rarely Herd

Reviewed by Henry Koretzky

It's hard for any group in bluegrass these days to distinguish themselves from the pack. Some will pull in influences from rock or jazz, while others will fill their recordings so full of guest stars that you can't find the band.

No such short cuts for the Rarely Herd. They build on a solid core of fine singing and skillful instrumental chops with an excellent mix of originals augmented by a handful of well-chosen covers. Their renditions of Kevin Welch's "True Love Never Dies" and Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Halley Came to Jackson" are tastefully in the bluegrass pocket, but no less so than the several fine compositions contributed by bassist Jeff Weaver and Canadian songwriter Tim McDonald (plus two instrumentals by banjoist/lead guitarist Ned Luberecki.) Lead singers Alan and Jim Stack have a natural knack for getting across the spirit of a song, with mandolinist/fiddler Alan excelling on the slower-paced numbers and Jim shining on the cookers.

After seven albums on Pinecastle, the Rarely Herd might be about ready to leave their name behind. This balanced collection of a dozen fine tunes, aided by ace dobroist Rob Ickes, shows the band has done some serious growing up musically as well.

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