Berline, Crary, Hickman - Chambergrass

BCH (Berline + Crary + Hickman)

(Sugar Hill)

First Appeared at The Music Box, July 2002, Volume 9, #7

Written by John Metzger


BCH — otherwise known as Byron Berline, Dan Crary, and John Hickman — had their heyday back in the ’70s and ’80s, playing a role in the then-burgeoning newgrass scene. But the group never really found a wide enough audience to sustain itself. On one hand, the band was too traditional for many newgrass fans. At the same time, the trio was a little too "out there" for bluegrass enthusiasts.

Chambergrass, BCH’s latest outing, collects 15 instrumental tracks from the band’s four Sugar Hill albums, and one can easily see both sides of the debate. It’s impossible to deny that the band shook things up in their approach to the genre. However, there is also a steadfast reverence in the ensemble’s playing that probably turned off those looking for a little more adventure. Either way, the trio were all top-notch in their technical proficiency, and for those seeking that kind of experience, Chambergrass will certainly give you plenty in which to revel. For everyone else, the precision playing and classical aura of the songs, while pleasant enough, will come across as just a tad stuffy. starstarstar

Chambergrass is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2002 The Music Box