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LOST HIGHWAY – Bluegrass the way you like it
Review by Joe Ross, Roseburg, Oregon - email rossjoe@hotmail.com

Lost HighwayWhen Lost Highway decided to do an album of favorite traditional bluegrass classics, they glanced at their set lists and picked a dozen classics for us. The album starts at a leisurely pace until the band jumps into overdrive at track five with “Paint the Town.” Then, the album returns to songs with adagio and andante (moderate) tempos. Drawing heavily on material from the Stanley Brothers and Lester Flatt, Lost Highway demonstrates that bands from California also know how to proficiently play the traditional stylings of Appalachia. With the exception of the instrumental written by Bill Emerson (“Reynard in the Canebreak”), all of the cuts feature Lost Highway’s nice vocal trio blend of Ken Orrick, Eric Uglum and Dick Brown. Guitarist Orrick is the band’s primary lead vocalist, although Eric Uglum (mandolin/guitar) and Dick Brown (banjo) also sing some leads. The three vocalists have
pleasant, charismatic singing voices. The other integral band members include Paul Shelasky (fiddle) and Marshall Andrews (bass).

Lost Highway is one of the few traveling professional bluegrass bands based in California. Hailing originally from Smithville, TN., Ken Orrick was raised on bluegrass music. His smooth approach to singing was inspired by Carter and Ralph Stanley, Larry Sparks, Lester Flatt and Melvin Goins. Eric Uglum has played with Weary Hearts and Copperline, and he plays an important role in this band as mandolinist, lead guitarist and tenor singer. He sings lead on “No Mother or Dad” and “Don’t Step Over an Old Love.” Dick Brown has performed and recorded with Lynn Morris, Traditional Bluegrass and Pacific Crest. He is the featured lead vocalist on “Over the Hills to the Poorhouse.” Fiddler Paul Shelasky was inspired by Benny Martin and Scotty Stoneman. He has recorded on over twenty-five albums and has played and toured with the Good Ol' Persons, Frank Wakefield, Tony Rice and David Grisman. Marshall Andrews has played traditional music for all of his life, and he has performed twice at IBMA showcases with Copperline (in 1997) and Lost Highway (in 1998).

Lost Highway’s “bluegrass the way you like it” is a very warm, comfortable, appealing album. These purveyors of the tradition know that there are many favorites in the bluegrass canon. Regrettably, they didn’t chose a couple more up-tempo ensemble workouts that really burn some barns along the highway. What this quintet does give us, however, is a relaxed set of choice material, accomplished singing, and proficient picking in their
characteristically friendly and personable manner. (Joe Ross)

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