Bluegrass: Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out

CORRESPONDENTJune 14, 2009 

  • Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out rating.

    ****

Since forming in 1991, IIIrd Tyme Out has established itself as one of the most innovative and entertaining bands in bluegrass. When bassist/bass vocalist Ray Deaton left last year, the band reorganized and cast founding member and guitarist/lead vocalist Russell Moore at the top of the marquee.

Moore's dynamic, supple tenor is among the most distinctive in bluegrass, and his fans have rewarded him with two top male vocalist trophies. Still, with their first studio album featuring Edgar Loudermilk on bass, the band knew it had to come out swinging. With "Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out" (Rural Rhythm), they've hit a home run.

Moore's high lonesome plaint is strong and bold, as if clearly refocused and reenergized. With Raleigh's Steve Dilling on banjo, Concord's Wayne Benson on mandolin, Justen Haynes on fiddle, and Loudermilk thumping bass, Moore's bandmates are at the top of their game.

Their trademark mix of styles ranges from traditional songs of regret ("Hard Rock Mountain Prison ['Til I Die]," through the quiet reflection of "Prayer for Peace," to Marty Robbins's "Knee Deep in the Blues" and the leaving home ballad, "The Last Greyhound."

Moore wrote two of the 12 tracks, and contributed to another. "Me and Dad," written by Kim Fox and Ronnie Bowman, is a loving tribute, perfect for Father's Day. On "My Angeline," Becky Buller adds fresh lyrics to the fiddle tune favorite "Angeline the Baker," And the gospel closer, "The Eastern Gate," is a showcase for IIIrd Tyme Out's brilliantly blended harmony singing.

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