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The Chieftains

Down the Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions

Release Date: 09.17.02
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Trance, Big Beat, Ambient, House, Trip-Hop, etc.


As Deep as Roots Can Go
by: bill aicher

It's one thing to refer to any Americana, alt.country, bluegrass or folk music as "roots" music, but it's an entirely different thing to create an album that showcases just where this roots music got its roots from. The Chieftains, however, with their gads of years of experience playing some of the best tradtional Irish tunes you've ever heard have done just this.

Down the Old Plank Road follows in much the same vein as their 1992 Another Country album, only this time replacing straightforward popular country artists with some of the most talented names in bluegrass. Working with artists John Hiatt, Ricky Skaggs, Bela Fleck, Lyle Lovett, Martina McBride, Earl Scruggs, and Alison Krauss (amongst a flurry of others) does a lot to prove your place. Working with these artists to create music this good does a lot more.

Rather than go into an in-depth breakdown of individual tracks, I'll just say this:if you're in any way, shape, or form a fan of traditional Irish, Celtic, or Bluegrass music you should run right out and pick up this disc. It's an audible lesson in just how much Appalachian music is an evolution of traditional Irish and Celtic, and how, for this reason, the two can mesh seamlessly into a quite impressive product. Honestly, there's not a bad thing to be said; this is Irish/country music at its finest.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? did a great thing by opening otherwise clouded eyes to the majesty of bluegrass. Down the Old Plank Road is just as spectacular an album, and anyone who dismisses it as anything less is a fool. 16-Sep-2002 9:54 PM