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ALAN JACKSON 'The Bluegrass Album' EMI-9107-CD

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It is getting more and more common to see Nashville Country singers putting out a Bluegrass album, even though the stars' record labels most likely have serious misgivings in getting involved with a style of music that until very recently was considered not very "cool" --to say nothing of the limited sales potential of such ventures. One thing we can say is that in this case, at least, the music is honest and does not suffer from over-production. Alan Jackson obviously has a good voice, and he seems quite at home in the Bluegrass setting here. Of course it does not hurt at all to have some great Bluegrass pickers behind you: Adam Steffey, Rob Ickes, Don Rigsby, Tim Crouch and Sammy Shelor provide just the right input to make this a stellar recording (We didn't recognize the name Scott Coney, but he does an outstanding job on acoustic guitar as well). As to the songs, 8 of them are Jackson originals, most of them quite nice --KNEW ALL ALONG, BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAIN SONG and BLACKTOP especially. The album closes with a 5 and a half minute version of BLUE MOON OF KENTICKY. The only song that will be recognizable to most Bluegrass fans is a nicely done rendition of the Dillard's THERE IS A TIME. A strong album that hopefully will introduce a few more folks to the beauty of Bluegrass music.