"Bluegrass Melodies" by Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-press

Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-press
Bluegrass Melodies
Rounder Records
4 Stars (out of 5)

Bobby Osborne and pals have created a fun, great-sounding album with his newest offering Bluegrass Melodies.  While Glen Duncan guests on fiddle, the rest of the musicians on the album are the current lineup of the Rocky Top X-Press: Bobby Osborne Jr. on guitar, Dana Cupp on banjo, Daryl Mosely on bass, Matt Despain on dobro/resophonic guitar, and Bobby Osborne himself on mandolin, with all members contributing on vocals.

Most of the songs on the album showcase Osborne’s clear, strong voice, and all of the tunes are made fresh and filled with energy by the ensemble.  There’s a nice mix of love songs, gospel tunes and semi-modern interpretations, such as John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” complete with joyful instrumental breaks.

Bobby does a nice job with Vince Gill’s “Go Rest High Upon That Mountain,” bringing in Rhonda Vincent on vocals and providing a more high and lonesome interpretation, somewhat more raw than the original.  The harmonies throughout are really nice – stacked thick and juicy.  My favorite tune on this album is the opener, “What Kind of Fool.”  It’s sad and pitiful, but moving.

Bobby has such a pleasant voice, comforting and just forlorn enough.  “I Would Like to See You” is another of my favorite selections, Osborne’s voice simply does great justice to love themes.  The whole album sounds perfectly polished and well-rehearsed, yet it staunchly avoids staleness or staticity.

by Katy Leonard