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Daniel Greeson (Patuxent, 2014)

Daniel Greeson

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

Daniel Greeson is an excellent fiddler who is still in high school in Greensboro, N.C. He not yet found his way to a national touring band, but he has the talent for it. This is a CD full of excellently performed fiddle tunes. If there are caveats, one will be that it's a CD full of fiddle tunes. Bluegrass fans love a good fiddle, but only a subset like 15 fiddle tunes without a vocalist in the neighborhood. Including a smattering of vocals would break things up for many listeners.

The other caveat is very little new ground is plowed. There are some tunes you won't often hear, like "Two O'Clock (In The Morning)" that includes a guitar break by Danny Knicely, and "Benny's Waltz" or "Martin Waltz" (usually known as "Martin's Waltz;" the jacket and the imbedded titles are different), a tune by the late Benny Martin.

"Sally Goodin" has been played to death even though it's done quite well here, including a mandolin break (Taylor Baker) and guitar break. There are several Bill Monroe tunes that any seasoned bluegrasser will recognize, including "Roanoke," with a hot banjo break from Brennen Ernst and second fiddle by Casey Driscoll; "Jerusalem Ridge," a great number that should be played by more bands; "Panhandle Country," featuring triple fiddles (Driscoll and Knicely); "The Old Brown County Barn," composed about the old barn on Monroe's Bean Blossom grounds; "Wheel Hoss" and "Big Sandy River." "Maiden's Prayer" comes from Bob Wills and is famous in bluegrass and country.

Several songs will be recognized by long-time fans and musicians even though they are not heard often. "Twinkle Little Star" has a melody that's easily recognized while "Dry and Dusty" isn't as well known. Kenny Baker had it on an album many years ago, and Greeson's version isn't far removed from Baker's. "Cattle in the Cane" is a good number that has been overlooked for too long while "Snowflake Reel" won't be known by many. The CD is anchored by Marshall Wilborn's on-the-mark bass playing.

The numbers are well arranged, avoiding passing breaks around until you think a song will never end. There are plenty of uptempo tracks with a few slower ones interjected to give your tapping foot a rest. This is excellent bluegrass from a talented young man. This could well be a primer for this summer's bluegrass jam sessions.

CDs by Daniel Greeson

Daniel Greeson, 2014

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