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'We've Come Along'   

-  Label: 'Earthwork Music'
-  Genre: 'Alt/Country' -  Release Date: '4th September 2017'

Our Rating:
In the liner notes for this album, Russell Brakefield writes:"What you hear in these tracks is the mark of persistence in difficult times, the proof of joy on a changing wind". It should be noted that Brakefield has a vested interest in expressing such compliments. The author of a soon to be published book of poems called 'Field Recordings' also wrote the words for the track Vulpes Vulpes.

The third full length album by this Michigan-based Bluegrass artist is fully deserving of praise, albeit of a more tempered variety.   

The quality of the musicianship from Lavengood and his four man backing band is exceptional. Brief instrumentals - Interlude For L.A. and Mule Kick - show off Lavengood's prowess on electric and acoustic guitars and his virtuoso dobro playing can be heard to best advantage on the title tune.

On the downside,brisk banjo-led versions of the honky tonk standard Ol' Slew Foot and Ralph Stanley's Bound To Ride sacrifice subtlety for speed while a cover of Bruce Springsteen's Hungry Heart has little more than novelty value.

Far more satisfying are the lyrical shades of Neil Young in Harvest mode you hear on tracks like Three Day Blow and America.

It's a mixed bag but at its best, these songs remain true to the artist's bluegrass roots while not being enslaved to tradition.

Mark Lavengood's website
  author: Martin Raybould

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LAVENGOOD, MARK - We've Come Along