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Through the Window of a Train_
Artist: Blue Highway
Label: Rounder Records
URLs: <http://www.bluehighwayband.com/discography/train.html>, <http://www.rounder.com/index.php?catalog_id=7088&id=album.php>
Times: 12 tracks / 39:18 minutes

Timeless and comfortably settled. Effortlessly simple and easy sounding. Precise picking and tight vocal harmonies. All these ingredients result in a sound bringing together the very best of bluegrass's past, present and future. Comprised of Jason Burleson, Rob Ickes, Shawn Lane, Tim Stafford, and Wayne Taylor, Blue Highway have created a gorgeous album.

Opener "Life of a Traveling Man" sprints out of the box with the banjo taking the lead. It is the top slice of a thematic sandwich that combines with closer "Just Another Gavel in the Road" to present the lyrical love/hate relationship of being on the road--the love for home and hearth versus the adventure of the open highway.

"The Window of a Train" is a triptych as much as a biographical sketch. Like a life flashing in front of your eyes, this one is driven by a steam engine chugging like musical backdrop and features a lovely dobro figure as a tag. Moving forward while looking back. Past and new friends. Pleasure gone by and new adventures that lie ahead.

"Sycramore Hollow" is a tale of true love. From its wailing dobro introduction, the story picks up steam when our storyteller's true love is stolen by a soldier in General Sherman's Army. His love for her puts him on their trail, armed and ready to do what has to be done to get his girl back. This story is one you may have heard before, yes. But this one is powered by a train-moving-on-the-tracks rhythm guitar so engaging that listener finds himself right there on the road with him, catching up with the kidnappers where he takes back his betrothed, consequences be what they might. This song is gorgeous in all aspects--lyrically timeless, featuring a simplicity that belies the virtuosity it exhibits.

"Homeless Man" has everything he owns in a worn out shopping cart who never begs for anything because he just doesn't have the heart. "Where Did The Morning Go?" and "My Ropin' Days Are Done" talk of the quixotic nature of life with a sense of resignation and surprise.

And hold on for "The North Cove," a smile inducing instrumental that'll leave your jaw hanging open in awe at the musicianship.

Through the Window of a Train is gifted with that cinematic sense that, after listening, you have traveled to new places, met new people and can't wait to return.

Bob Felberg  April 24, 2008


 

 
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