3.5 Stars (out of 5)
Blue Highway burst onto the scene in 1995 and solidified its rightful place among the bluegrass elite with a trifecta of terrific Rebel releases – It’s a Long, Long Road (1995), Wind to the West (1996), and Midnight Storm (1998). Lonesome Pine compiles thirteen tracks from that trilogy.
Compiling a Blue Highway collection is a double-edged proposition. Lonesome Pine certainly showcases the vocal versatility of lead singers Shawn Lane, Wayne Taylor, and Tim Stafford, and the musical virtuosity of Rob Ickes (Dobro), Stafford (guitar), and Jason Burleson (banjo). Plus, one can’t go wrong with classics “In the Gravel Yard,” “Someday,” and “Two Coats.”
On the other hand, the source albums comprise 37 solid selections. Do the math, and Lonesome Pine can’t avoid coming up short. It leaves out “God Moves in a Windstorm,” “Wind to the West,” and “Find Me Out on a Mountain Top” (among others). Thus, for the Blue Highway aficionado, this collection is simply an enjoyable mix CD.
However, the absence of any previously unreleased material and the budget price indicate a sampler intended for the Blue Highway and/or bluegrass neophyte. In that regard, Lonesome Pine is hard to beat. Still, if the cash is available, proceed directly to It’s a Long, Long Road, Wind to the West, and Midnight Storm. They’re still in-print.
by Tim Walsh