various artists,
The Other Side of the Mountain:
Bluegrass, Newgrass & Beyond

(Compass, 2002)

We have alt-Americana, folk-rock and progressive folk, so why not this new spin on bluegrass? As the cover says, this takes the components of bluegrass and tosses them into the air and reassembles them on the way down.

The instrumental from Matt Flinner called "City Chickens" is a case in point. You can hear the roots of traditional bluegrass but, with an added ingredient that is hard to identify, it adds to the enjoyment.

The band Newgrange takes on the traditional "Handsome Molly" and gives her an excellent makeover that slows her down to make a new song. Alison Brown along with Sam Bush takes Elvis Costello's "Everyday I Write the Book" and adds some more secret ingredients to transform it. "Freedom Ride" is another excellent offering on a CD of surprises.

This album is a great sampler of what is happening as new artists not only discover bluegrass, they take it, shake it and make it their own.

One criticism I have concerns the liner notes -- principle and principal are two very different words.

by Nicky Rossiter
3 February 2007

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