If you are a bluegrass fan, this is a double cd that you will have to add to your collection. On the other hand, to some purists, this collection might be a mixed celebration, though it should be nothing but a happy celebration. Ralph Stanley has gathered together a rare list of artist to do his music with him. The list includes Ricky Skaggs, Claire Lynch, Laurie Lewis, Rhonda Vincent, Alison Krauss, and The Whites. What is there about this list that might trouble a purist? Well, there is more to the list, including, Bob Dylan, Patty Loveless, George Jones, Dwight Yoakam, Joe Diffie, Diamond Rio, John Anderson, Porter Wagoner, and…well, you get the point. By some, this is a mix of the pure and the profane.
The people who don't want to see their bluegrass watered down have a point. But, this is not the average group of country stars trying to do bluegrass. This is a group of good musicians dong the music of Ralph Stanley, the way Stanley wants them to do it. Some of it surprisingly good. It appears obvious, from the first song with Hal Ketchum, that the artists have great respect for Ralph and his music. It is a wonderful tribute by the "real" bluegrass musicians, and the country artists, as well. Ralph sounds as if he is having a great time directing this project. He never sounded better. Ralph Stanley has lead all these people to the alter, and they show real signs of conversion. Rebel records should be commended for doing a gutsy project with one of the few "old time," pure bluegrass greats, still preaching the message.