Norman & Nancy Blake
The Morning Glory Ramblers
First Appeared at The Music Box, May 2004, Volume 11, #5
Written by John Metzger
In what has been an extraordinary career, Norman Blake has worked alongside everyone from Bob Dylan to Randy Scruggs and from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to Johnny and June Carter Cash, but he always has seemed most comfortable when recording and performing with his wife Nancy. It’s been 8 years since the couple released its last album — the Grammy nominated Hobo’s Last Ride — although the duo has been busy of late contributing to the Cold Mountain soundtrack and touring with the Down from the Mountain collective. Their latest outing The Morning Glory Ramblers offers a mixture of modern and traditional tunes, and when taken as a whole, the 17-song set provides a shimmering overview of the history of American roots music. Whether it succeeds because the contemporary selections sound old or because the traditional tracks feel fresh doesn’t matter. The real story is how the Blakes combine their voices and guitars to cast a warm, life-affirming glow upon a genre that frequently is perceived as stiff and uninteresting.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box