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Michael Martin Murphey

Buckaroo Blue Grass (Rural Rhythm)

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., March 13, 2009

Texas Platters

Michael Martin Murphey

Buckaroo Blue Grass (Rural Rhythm)

Mixing cowboys and bluegrass might seem like a stretch until you remember that Bill Monroe penned a tune called "Rawhide." Actually, Michael Martin Murphey might be the only one who could pull off this fusion; his cowboy roots, cosmic and otherwise, are legend, and his songwriting skills, as made clear on Buckaroo Blue Grass, remain superior. He revisits "What Am I Doing Hanging Around" (recorded by the Monkees in 1967) and one of his best, "Carolina in the Pines," with renewed purpose. The fiddle, where cowboy music and bluegrass meet, is spotlighted on the loping "Cherokee Fiddle" and free-spirited "Fiddlin' Man." Throw in some of today's hottest pickers – Sam Bush, Ronnie McCoury, Pat Flynn, Rob Ickes, and Andy Leftwich – add guest vocals by bluegrass diva Rhonda Vincent, and Murphey, with son Ryan, has produced one of the great bluegrass discs of 2009.

***.5

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