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Tbe Bramble & the Rose

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Etcetera: Several of country music’s most popular Performers — including Vince Gill and Patty Loveless — built their sound around bluegrass elements, and now bluegrass musicians are returning the favor, sneaking a pedal steel guitar or hard-country tune into their repertoires. On Long Journey, the Dry Branch Fire Squad, an Appalachian string band known for keening renditions of old-time songs, gets its punch from the mesmerizing soprano of Suzanne Thomas on their songs about matrimonial ups and downs and the power of religion. A- ?The Nashville Blue-Grass Band divides its repertoire evenly among gospel, old-style country, and bluegrass instrumentals. On Home of the Blues, the group hits its stride with ”Blue Train,” an atmospheric, ’30s-style down-and-outer that knows more twists and turns than the Amtrak system. B …On the Lynn Morris Band’s second effort, The Bramble & the Rose, National Banjo Champion Morris eschews the five-string to concentrate on singing and playing guitar on straight country material. Alas, while enlivening these tunes with bluegrass harmonies and arrangements, Morris’ singing lacks the emotional immediacy of the best in the genre. C-

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