Michael Martin Murphey

Buckaroo Blue Grass II (Rural Rhythm)

Texas Platters

Michael Martin Murphey

Buckaroo Blue Grass II (Rural Rhythm)

Michael Martin Murphey knows a good thing when he hears one. Last year's Buckaroo Blue Grass, an innovative melding of cowboy songs and bluegrass, won raves and a Grammy nomination. This follow-up is almost as engaging. Again he's joined by the best in today's bluegrass world – Ronnie McCoury, Sam Bush, Audie Blaylock, Rob Ickes, and more – for some super picking, and with a couple of exceptions, Murphey's song choices are equally inspired. A loping reprise of "Cosmic Cowboy" and a hot rendering of Marty Robbins' "Running Gun" flawlessly match his idea of putting the high lonesome on the lonesome prairie. Then again, MMM's signature "Wildfire," a pleasant remake here as a duet with Carrie Hassler, lacks the original's enduring sparkle, and "Backslider's Wine," made famous by Jerry Jeff Walker, is missing the forlorn ambience the song requires. Hints that Murphey has taken his idea as far as it can go loom over this project, but it remains a winning ride. (Murphey rides into the Saxon Pub Friday, March 5.)

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