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Song Samples / Digital Downloads
Derived from the various Bluegrass '90s albums that the Pinecastle label released, "Ultimate Pickin'" features Jeff Autry (guitar), Wayne Benson (mandolin), Aubrey Haynie (fiddle), Scott Vestal (banjo) and Mark Schatz (bass). Rickie Simpkins also plays fiddle on half dozen cuts. Rob Ickes plays resophonic guitar on 14 of 20 tracks, and Randy Kohrs plays on the remaining six tracks. Although most of the tracks are staples of the bluegrass repertoire, these players are able to impart their own stylistic interpretations and breathe new life into them. For example, the bouncing tempo and key changes in "I'll Fly Away" are a pleasant surprise as the breaks get handed around. "Roanoke" is given the barn-burning treatment. As a matter of personal taste, I prefer one tune ("Red Apple Rag") at a more moderate tempo. The original CD releases from the 90s had two accompanying AcuTab transcription books (Scott Vestal's banjo and Wayne Benson's mandolin).