Jim Hurst and Missy Raines - Synergy
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Synergy (Pinecastle, 2003)

Jim Hurst and Missy Raines

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

It's hard to believe only two people made this much good music. Jimmy Hurst and Missy Raines created a collection of songs featuring vocals, a guitar and a bass. It doesn't fit neatly into a labeled niche, sharing bluegrass and country roots. The CD may not appeal to hardcore fans of either genre, but if you like good music without worrying over labels, the 12 tracks make for enjoyable listening.

Hurst and Raines are widely known and award winning musicians who have toured together for several years. In a field known for great instrumental work, Hurst is as good as they come, but what makes this CD stand out is the upfront presence of Raines' big bass. You typically have to go to blues and jazz recordings to find this kind of bass playing. She provides the rhythm section, but stands as an equal to Hurst on soloing.

The songs may not be well known ("Guidology," "Automotive Breakdown," "Cincinnati At Night"), but Raines' bass sets the beat while Hurst's guitar playing is marked by pure abandon. Here are two masters locked tightly together in a groove all their own.

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