13 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Coming off of two concept-oriented albums—one blending bluegrass with Dixieland jazz in collaboration with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and one paying tribute to the music of Bill Monroe—Del McCoury tackles whatever captures his fancy on The Streets of Baltimore. In the past, the master bluegrass bandleader's openminded approach has encompassed everything from Richard Thompson tunes to Steve Earle collaborations, but here his muse stays relatively closer to home. Some tracks revisit old country hits by other artists (Jerry Lee Lewis's 1970 smash "Once More with Feeling," Bobby Bare's '66 hit "The Streets of Baltimore"), and it's a kick to hear McCoury slide into a straight honky-tonk feel for the former. But on new tunes penned by Nashville's finest, like "I Wanna Go Where You Go," McCoury and his band strike the same combination of traditionalism and invention that's made them one of modern bluegrass's biggest acts. When they close with a banjo-flailing cover of The Platters' '50s doo-wop chestnut "Only You," they remind us never to assume we know what they've got in store for us next.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Coming off of two concept-oriented albums—one blending bluegrass with Dixieland jazz in collaboration with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and one paying tribute to the music of Bill Monroe—Del McCoury tackles whatever captures his fancy on The Streets of Baltimore. In the past, the master bluegrass bandleader's openminded approach has encompassed everything from Richard Thompson tunes to Steve Earle collaborations, but here his muse stays relatively closer to home. Some tracks revisit old country hits by other artists (Jerry Lee Lewis's 1970 smash "Once More with Feeling," Bobby Bare's '66 hit "The Streets of Baltimore"), and it's a kick to hear McCoury slide into a straight honky-tonk feel for the former. But on new tunes penned by Nashville's finest, like "I Wanna Go Where You Go," McCoury and his band strike the same combination of traditionalism and invention that's made them one of modern bluegrass's biggest acts. When they close with a banjo-flailing cover of The Platters' '50s doo-wop chestnut "Only You," they remind us never to assume we know what they've got in store for us next.

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