Not Too Far From the Tree – Byran Sutton
Sugar Hill Records 4001
Wow, talk about fulfilling a childhood fantasy. While struggling through his first notes as youngster, Im assuming guitarist Bryan Sutton never imagined hed one day hit the studio with the likes of iconic bluegrass figures Doc Watson, Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs and Tony Riceand thats just to name a few.
Not Too Far From the Tree, a grab bag of Sutton/(input guitar hero here) duel-offs sure makes me wish I wouldve never abandoned my six-string when I was a kid. The disc does a whole heck of a lot more than spark a regretful nostalgia though. It snuggly covers the listener with a blanket woven with the fabric of traditional American folk. Watsons pristine model Gallagher dances frantically around Suttons solemn bass notes on Whiskey Before Breakfast, vertically fluxing to euphoric crescendos before crashing into the mellow sigh of Pee Wee King and Redd Stewarts Bonapartes Retreat Suttons guitar clash with Jerry Douglas.
Whhheeeeewww. This sigh should be duly noted.
From the Trees first half (well, the better half, actually) is punctuated by such manic interplay, one need wipe his brow after taking in an earful. Most notably, the weaving, telepathic picking between Bryan and proud pop, Jerry, runs amok on Billy in the Lowground. Skaggs contribution on Carroll County Blues manifests itself in the form of some serious sit-down acoustic funk that — in four minutes time — leaves you tapping a foot instead of gasping for air.
So go ahead. Treat yourself to a generous helping of this disc. Just make sure you’re sitting down when you do.