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Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby
Review By: Jim Moulton, CSO Staff Journalist

This was a very highly anticipated disc for me. I love both of these guys. They both obviously love what they do and it comes out in their music. Well, surely no disappointment here, this is a real winner. The disc was recorded at Ricky Skaggs studio. The quality is very lush and full of great dynamics. You can hear well recognized trademark licks of each musician. Overall, I would say that Hornsby dominates the sound of the CD, writing more of the songs, and his excellent keyboard playing sort of changes everything. 

"Across the Rocky Mountains" is a traditional arrangement by Skaggs, but you hear a lot of Hornsbys' influence on the piano here. 

"Mandolin Rain" (Hornsby) is a picturesque song that stirs up images with some great lyrics. Stu Duncan is on fiddle, Cody Kilby on guitar and Skaggs on banjo, guitar and harmony vocals. This is a slow tempo tune that has rich textures and great use of the stereo field. The sound of Hornsbys' B3 organ meshing with the bluegrass instruments is another music genre called, "Americana", as much of this CD is.

"Stubb" - (Skaggs) Instrumental with a great melody line. Hornsby is awesome here, as is Andy Leftwich on fiddle. Nice Accordion solo by Jeff Taylor. Cody Kilby takes off on a very nice guitar solo. Skaggs adds some jaw harp.

"A Night On The Town" is a very nice story telling song by Hornsby, he really clicks with Skaggs' Kentucky Thunder and the many guest musicians. Cody Kilby is brilliant here on the guitar with some great runs.

"Sheep Shellcorn" is a very nice traditional bluegrass song that Hornsby sings. Skaggs is laying down three or four tracks on each song.

"Hills Of Mexico" - Skaggs sings this one very old-time bluegrass, with lots of help from the band.

"Crown Of Jewels" - Great Hornsby song that never sounded better. Skaggs takes a nice mandolin solo. Love the way the small amount of compression on this song makes the instruments jump to life. Real nice harmonies with Skaggs and Hornsby. 

Overall, this is the best produced, performed disc that I have heard this year and that is just barely, lots of great newgrass this year. These boys share joy in their music. If you are a fan of Bluegrass and Americana, check this out!

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