Flying Burrito Brothers
Sons of the Golden West
First Appeared at The Music Box, October 1999, Volume 6, #10
Written by John Metzger
Itís hard to believe that the Flying Burrito Brothers have been making music for more than 30 years. Some people may even be surprised to hear that the group is still together. After all, its more famous members Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, and Bernie Leadon departed long ago, but for nearly two decades the band has remained intact and centered its music around the talent of multi-instrumentalist John Beland.
On Sons of the Golden West, the groupís first album in two years, the Flying Burrito Brothers augments its sound with an all-star cast. Making appearances on the album are Merle Haggard, Sam Bush, Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs, Delbert McClinton, and even the Oak Ridge Boys. Howís that for a line-up? Skaggs and banjo player John Cushman underscore Pioneer Zephyr Train with precise picking patterns as the Flying Burrito Brothersí chugs along an exquisite groove. The upbeat Down at the Palomino takes a reflective and loving look back at an earlier time, while Area 51 is a soaring country-rocker that ponders the utopian meeting of life from another planet.
Shining quite brightly throughout Sons of the Golden West is the gentle caress of pedal steel guitar from the legendary Muscle Shoals musician Wayne Bridge. He flavors each of the songs perfectly, adding texture at just the right moments.
Indeed, the Flying Burrito Brothers is alive and well, but for those destined to live in the past, the band concludes its album with the tongue-in-cheek Ode to Gram. Parsons certainly helped to put this band on the map, but itís been Belandís group for nearly 20 years. If youíre really open to what this band has accomplished, give Sons of the Golden West a listen.
Sons of the Golden West 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 © 1999 The Music Box