This year, North Carolina's Sugar Hill Records is celebrating 25 years of releasing great roots music CDs. To celebrate that big anniversary, Sugar Hill has released several compilations, featuring some of the best tracks in their vast library of bluegrass and folk music. One recent release is Bluegrass All Stars: 16 Grand Slams From Sugar Hill Records.
The fact that Sugar Hill chooses to kick off Bluegrass All Stars with Nickel Creek's hit single, "Smoothie Song", is an indication that the label's definition of bluegrass includes a wide variety of acoustic music. That's not to say the rough and tumble sound that Bill Monroe first recorded in the 1940s is cast aside. The traditional bluegrass sound can be found on cuts featuring "Baucom, Bibey and BlueRidge," and Jim Mills. Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, also celebrating a 25th anniversary this year, contributes a stellar traditional track, "Blue Train (Of The Heartbreak Line)."
The 16 tracks on Bluegrass All Stars present a truly all-star cast of phenomenal musicians including Grammy winners Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Bryan Sutton and Jim Mills. Another Grammy winner, fiddler and singer Alison Krauss, is featured on "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby," the Jerry Douglas offering on Bluegrass All Stars.
This CD was produced to introduce potential new listeners to bluegrass, as well as to give longtime fans a sampling of the music available from Sugar Hill Records. The album is a good mix of the labels' older and current acts, and also includes songs from The Lonesome River Band, Don Rigsby and The Gibson Brothers, who contribute "The Open Road."
In a recent interview, Eric and Leigh Gibson both cited The Seldom Scene as a major musical inspiration. The Scene's "Highway of Heartache" is among the 16 "Grand Slams" on the new Sugar Hill release Bluegrass All Stars.