Review: The Earls of Leicester – Loving Tribute to Flatt & Scruggs

This CD is true to a set of well known songs performed by Flatt and Scruggs during the height of the Foggy Mountain Boys career.

Jerry Douglas put together this talented group, organized and produced this CD which he has proclaimed to be something he has always hoped to put together.

The band consists of Shawn Camp (vocals and guitar); Charlie Cushman (banjo and guitars); Tim O’Brien (vocals and mandolin); Johnny Warren (fiddle); and Barry Bales (Alison Krauss and Union Station) on bass and vocals.

The Earls Of Leicester has taken the Flatt & Scruggs songs of the ‘50s and ‘60s into a modern studio to perform refreshed versions of their popular songs. The music is performed in the style of the original Foggy Mountain Boys peaking from 1954 to 1965. There is no pushing of the envelope here, more like digging into the envelope for licks and styles of the early players. Don’t look for fancy Jerry Douglas futuristic dobro. Instead Jerry pulls out all the first primer dobro stylings and it is pure joy to hear! Jerry’s plan was to re-create an authentic Foggy Mountain Boys sound.

“It’s kind of an introduction to Flatt and Scruggs, the way I hear them,” Douglas notes, adding, “much of my motivation was selfish, because I just wanted to hear this sound again. It took me a long time to find the right people who could pull it off and make it sound authentic and not corny, and make you feel like you’re listening to Flatt and Scruggs during those years.”

“Dim Lights”

“I built this with the idea that it would be an event band, not a band that’s gonna go out and hit the road for three years,” he says. “I want to feel six years old every time I play this music, and it wouldn’t feel that way if we had to do it every night. I want us to enjoy every time we do it, and I want us to remember why we enjoy it.

“I believe this band has the potential to have its own evolution, beyond just doing Flatt and Scruggs tunes, but this record is very, very exciting for me,” he continues. “I’m hoping people will hear it and ask ‘What’s that?’, then do some investigating and discover where this stuff came from. We have a younger audience for this kind of music now, and it is important to me that the listeners understand the origins of what they are hearing.”

It’s hard to pick a favorite song here, each song just rolls happily through your brain.

So put your CD player in an antique radio and pull up an old leather lounge and drift back in time with The Earls Of Leicester.

Doug Mathewson

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