Musical styles constantly evolve. If you love traditional music, this can be a problem. What is “genuine” and what is a synthesis that only appears to be authentic?
Perhaps the best solution to this conundrum is to sit back and enjoy music if it sounds heartfelt and original. A good time to disregard issues of authenticity is when you listen to Another Saturday Night by Dudley Connell and Don Rigsby. This album is a cross between bluegrass and old-time honky-tonk country. Imagine bluegrass with pedal steel guitars. The result is “new” old music. Many of the lead vocals are duets. Their rendition of the Everly Brothers classic “So Sad (to watch good love go bad)” will give you goosebumps.
Dudley Connell plays acoustic guitar, while Don Rigsby plays mandolin. They are assisted by Missy Raines on acoustic bass, Tim O’Brien on fiddle, and Randy Kohrs on lapsteel, Weisenborn, straight steel, resophonic, and electric resophonic guitar. Tom T. Hall makes a cameo appearance on “The Ballad of Ira Hayes,” adding a recitation to the end of the tune.
The song selection for Another Saturday Night is superb; personal faves are Dylan’s “Hollis Brown,” and the traditional tune Woody Guthrie favored when he was into his cups, “Where is My Sailor Boy” (sometimes called “What Does the Deep Sea Say”). Both are delivered with just the right combination of virtuosity and honest emotion.
In this age of music business juggernauts, there seems to be precious little space and time for music that’s more than merely a fashion accessory. If you’re in the mood for timeless music, give this CD a listen.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Oct. ’01 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.