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MONROE CROSSING - The Road Has No End


MONROE CROSSING
The Road Has No End
Cool Cool Ride - Chattanooga - Bullet Train - Hobos In The Roundhouse - Cicada - Rain Was Turning Into Snow - Foggy River - Heavenly Table - East To Get Lost - If The World Were Filled With You - Doing My Time - Bread & Milk - Last Letter Home - Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress
 
The single really great thing about Bluegrass music is the opportunity and open door policy of band members writing their own original songs.  The second really great thing about acoustic Bluegrass music is that it is nationwide.  Really super good Bluegrass bands are coming from everywhere, even Minnesota.  Monroe Crossing did an absolutely superb job of doing exactly that.  Bluegrass is also an extension of America's original country music, or mountain music, or just plain 'people' music, and there are some extraordinary groups performing this music today.  Monroe Crossing is one of them.  To be credited as a 'top' Bluegrass band today, and get the higher paying festival gigs, a Bluegrass band HAS to be tight.  Monroe Crossing is one of them.  To get a record review in Europe on a German country music Internet magazine means the group has to have international appeal.  Monroe Crossing is one of them.  This extremely 'tight' group is made up of Lisa Fuglie on fiddle, guitar, vocals, and some tremendously appealing original songs, no less than six with some of them co-written with Mark Anderson (bass, especially good on "Foggy River," snare, vocals). Listen to Lisa's roaring train-smashing lead on "Bullet Train."  Derek Johnson (guitar & vocals) contributed two excellent songs, my favorite being "Easy To Get Lost" with the admonition that it's easy to get lost when you don't know where you are going.  Sounds pretty much like what contemporary country music direction is today.  Matt Thompson on a stunningly good Monroe style mandolin (yes both Monroe's), also contributed "Rain Was Turning Into Snow."  The rest of the band is made up of David Robinson on banjo, resophonic guitar, harmonica (whaaaat, in bluegrass, and yes it's good), and vocals. I really liked his frailing style of banjo on "Cicada."  Recorded at Wild Sound in Minneapolis, this excellent recording has been gone over with a fine toothbrush in the final mix.  Nothing anywhere stands out as 'unwanted.'  I especially enjoyed their rendition of "Doing My Time" which I had the extreme pleasure of playing with Jimmy Martin on my television show.  Being an older reviewer I'm beginning to have a little trouble with extreme lows and extreme highs, which in my case would wish the vocals were just a bit higher above  the instrumental mix, but that is very personal.  It's no wonder that the Rural Roots Music Commission brought this CD to my attention for their  2013 "Contemporary Bluegrass CD of The Year" award.  I hope that all works out for Monroe Crossing, they are definitely a Bluegrass band on a road that has no end. 
Bob Everhart, Reviewer, www.ntcma.net

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