The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 28th

Collection of Bluegrass Artists Revisits Folky Roots

4 Stars

Cool, Blue and Lonesome is a great collection of classic songs about heartbreak and loss from the best bluegrass artists of the past century.

One common recurring theme in bluegrass music is that of the blues. The album mixes tempo and the different styles of bluegrass well, keeping the listener interested throughout. Veteran artists Bill Monroe and Hank Williams Sr. are the two songwriters most often represented on the album, and their classic styles of rhythm and blues resonates over the rest of the collection.

The first track sets the mood for the rest of the LP. An upbeat song about losing your love, "Lonesome Standard Time" is a refreshing rendition of said topic in an upbeat manner.

"Misery River," written by Glenn A. Worf, is also quick-paced for a song about loss. It contains unexpected optimism as it spins a tale of a man being carried back home on his own "Misery River."

Throughout the 18 tracks, this album has the ability to captivate its listener, making it a fundamentally good album. Yet, in addition to having a multitude of well-written songs, Cool, Blue and Lonesome also contains a multitude of great musicians to make the songs come alive.

Soulful ballads like "I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome," written by Williams and Monroe, address the familiar topic of being alone and wishing for something to end your sadness.

Similarly, a traditional song arranged by Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice, "Bury Me Beneath the Weeping Willow," is a song about a man whose girlfriend has left him that will tear at your heart.

Wanting to be buried beneath the weeping willow tree, he romantically hopes that she will come and weep for him.

Most of Cool, Blue and Lonesome's songs use fairly standard instruments for bluegrass: acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass and fiddle.

The instrumentals add a lot to the overall feeling and emotion created by each song, and there is no point during the album at which the music doesn't pair with the lyrics well. Adding to these lyrics are true bluegrass vocals. Many of the songs included in the collection are older standards, demonstrating the distinctive and emotional vocals typical of traditional bluegrass.

Bring all of the elements together, and you have an album well worth your money.

This is a great addition to the collection of the die-hard bluegrass fan. For the listener who knows nothing about bluegrass, Cool, Blue and Lonesome is a great place to start.

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