Jim & Jesse McReynolds have always had their own take on the bluegrass tradition. Like their contemporaries the Osborne Brothers
, they've always pushed the envelope of the mainstream while never completely losing their aura of old-time traditionalism. This album will change all that. Teaming up with the stage band from the Grand Ole Opry, the McReynolds brothers deliver a program of classic honky tonk country music, complete with steel guitar and Telecaster accompaniment. (Interestingly, the band uses an upright instead of an electric bass -- an ironic twist, given that Jim & Jesse use an electric instrument in their bluegrass ensemble.) The songs are mostly well selected -- there are a couple of great tunes from the Buck Owens
catalog ("Foolin' Around," "Til These Dreams Come True"), a Mel Tillis
chestnut ("Heart Over Mind"), and others from Roger Miller
and Don Gibson
, not to mention a few McReynolds originals played in that 1950s country-shuffle style. There's only one misstep (the inexcusably smarmy "Lovin' Machine"); for the most part, this is a completely charming album that may leave hardcore bluegrass fans cold but will appeal greatly to fans of pre-'70s country.