It is rare --and very exciting --to find an old-time band today that has put it all together: great selection of material, fine singing and top flight, dynamic instrumental work. This band, based in Central Virginia, is neither a group of "old-timers" past their prime, nor a young revival band: the 4 members are middle-aged musicians who love the sounds & styles of the Appalachian Mountain region in days past. They sing and play with authority and a rare combination of skill, taste, humor and good judgement. About half of the 23 tracks feature solid vocals, most of them handled by Dick Harrington (formerly of Afton Mt. String Band) and Lorie Lichtenwalner. Rick Martin, whose strong fiddling leads the group, traces his childhood to Troublesome Creek in Eastern Kentucky (Perry County), though he learned to play the music after moving away from his birthplace. He has made it a point to try to learn some of the great tunes from Eastern Kentucky the way the great fiddlers of yesteryear played them. He is supported by some fine banjo picking from none other than Brooklyn-born Steve Arkin, whose strong work here includes both old-time and Bluegrass style (mostly the former). Those old enough to have seen Bill Monroe's band in the 1960s may remember seeing Arkin as a Bluegrass Boy in 1964. Monroe was quoted as calling Arkin "the best banjo player [he] ever had for backup work". Beautifully sequenced, this is a great album that we can endorse without reservation. DINAH, COUSIN SALLY BROWN, GYPSY DAVY, LITTLE SADIE, SWEET MARIE, TEN STEPS, etc.