96kHz/24-bit, FLAC; Sugar Hill Records SUG00011 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)
From the off, this set by bluegrass/New Grass mandolin player Sam Bush explodes with the kind of authenticity sorely missing from Cyndi Lauper’s recent ‘Detour’ into country. The tongue is firmly out of cheek here, and instead we get realism thanks to Bush’s rootsy approach to the heritage of American acoustic music. It’s a wonderfully upbeat and affirmative set, from the ever-so-slightly funky ‘Everything Is Possible’ to the defiant ‘Carcinoma Blues’. Meanwhile, the instrumental track ‘Greenbrier’ finds Bush and his band working out with almost quartz-locked precision and superb interplay, and the quieter ‘It’s Not What You Think’ is simply beautiful, and almost classical in its scoring and performance. Oh – and ‘Handmics Killed Country Music’ is as nostalgic as it is amusing. Add in a meticulous recording, and you have a serious feel-good album. AE
Sound Quality: 85%
Hi-Fi News Lab Report
This is a clean enough 96kHz render but what’s been captured evidently contains a deal of distortion at source, particularly off percussion, from downstream (mic) amps and/or limiters. Note the excess energy >30kHz [see Graph, trk 11]. PM
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