Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bluegrass Doubleshot: Bobby Osborne - Try a Little Kindness & The John Cowan Band - New Tattoo

Today I'm lumping together two solo albums from former members of "progressive" bluegrass bands. Try a Little Kindness by Bobby Osborne of the Osborne Brothers and New Tattoo by John Cowan of New Grass Revival.

I first heard about Bobby Osborne's new album on Living in Stereo, which featured its version of Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down" in a comparison of several versions of that song. That song is, I feel, the stand out of the album, but the rest does not disappoint. It features mostly covers and standards from bluegrass and country and beyond, including songs by Bill Monroe and Carter Stanley, Josh Turner and Kristofferson, as well as Paul Simon.

While this isn't a career redefining album, it is a good listen from a musician who could be in Branson.

This album follows pretty closely in the proto-jam band sound of New Grass Revival. While not featuring any extended cuts, the atmosphere is the same and is updated with a touch of that new-agey Celtic sound that was all over in the '90s. Featuring alumni of IIIrd Tyme Out and Leftover Salmon, this album has a bit of a mix of traditional and newgrass sounds. The harmonies, in particular, are of a more traditional nature, in the vein of IIIrd Tyme Out.

Of note on this album is "Drown," a brutal song by John Cowan about his experience of being molested as a child. Certainly a very brave thing to do, to talk in public so frankly about something generally taboo; however, the graphicness of the song sends me too quickly to the skip button. It does raise visibility, though, as does his work as a spokesman for Project Safe Place.

Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press - The Hard Times
The John Cowan Band - Carla's Got a New Tattoo

Try a Little Kindness from Amazon
New Tattoo from Amazon

No comments: