It is 2 AM and something draws me from bed and compels me to begin writing this review. Not in the usual way, no laptop, no touchpad, all I need is a notebook and a pen. I know, sometimes the old school way is just better.
Nevertheless, why does this assignment need to be handled in this manner? Has the project I have been listening to for the past weeks rubbed off on me? Or, as I suspect, will paper and pen make it easier to follow my ramblings through the inevitable editing process necessary when the time comes to finally convey my thoughts to the laptop about this simple yet profoundly complex project that Peter Rowan has compiled.
“The Old School” is a wonderfully entertaining project in which Mr. Rowan gives listeners ten original songs, one traditional song with his personalized stellar arrangement, and for those purchasing the CD, a bonus track…a reprise of the title cut, featuring Eddie Stubbs.
For this project, Rowan and producer Alison Brown, have brought together artists that, aside from being a Who’s Who of Bluegrass’ Old School in their own right, have paved the way for, and continue to be, the inspiration for many Bluegrass artists today.
In the opening song, and title track, Rowan gives us the two simple rules of The Old School: pick it clean and play it true. These two rules set the tone for the remainder of the project. Listeners will be hard-pressed to find anyone straying from these rules. Another testament to the talent of Rowan’s songwriting ability is that you can picture Rowan and his fellow artists living the things he writes about in this track. Experiencing life and paying their dues in those formative years of the music that we all hold so dear.
These two rules are what create the simple and yet complex undertones of this project. Upon first hearing a song, one thinks Rowan has written a nice quaint melody. Then the song beckons you to listen again and you hear the subtle chord or the lyric that catches your attention and begs to be heard again. In an industry where song selection is so vital, Rowan proves through his choice of putting these songs into “The Old School” that he is the Head Master.
While every song on this project made me smile, perhaps none more so, than Rowan’s touching and heartfelt tribute, “Doc Watson Morning”…
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Music Charts Magazine Bluegrass Artist and Album Reviews ( by Prescription Bluegrass – YOUR Bluegrass Music Source )