tell_the_onesRecorded and produced by Larry Campbell at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock, New York, Tell The Ones I Love offers up traditional bluegrass with just the right amount of genre blending. Bluegrass fans
know that the Steep Canyon Rangers are one of the most acclaimed and accomplished modern ensembles. But not since the Country Gentlemen revived traditional bluegrass in the 1970s has there been a band with the same level of instrumental proficiency and mainstream recognition. On the heels of their grammy-winning album, Nobody Knows You (Rounder Records, 2012), the band doesn’t  break form on this album.

The Steep Canyon Rangers have always pushed – but never broken – the envelope of traditional bluegrass. Perhaps that’s what makes them so appealing. Whether it’s their collaborations with Steve Martin, or on this album the inclusion of percussionist Jeff Sipe (Leftover Salmon, Susan Tedeschi, Aquarium Rescue Unit), these guys take just enough risks to keep things interesting, but not enough to scare away the purists. “Mendocino County Blues” has an upbeat tempo and melodic riffs that’ll leave your foot tapping and hands clapping. Songs like “Camellia” sound like they may have been dug up from some reels of old recordings of The Band  laying around Levon’s studio!

The Rangers first impressed Helm with their playing at one of his famed Midnight Rambles and he invited them to record at his studio. Considering the Ranger
s are so well known for their live performances, producer Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan and Levon Helm) encouraged the band to recreate that energy on the recording. They succeeded. If you’re looking for progressive “newgrass” this might not be the album for you. But if you want high caliber musicians playing traditional bluegrass with just a tinge of pop-country vocals, some western swing, and even a few drum tracks, you won’t be disappointed.


Tell The Ones I Love is out now on Rounder Records