Alan Bibey In The Blue Room

This solo outing by New Quicksilver/IIIrd Time Out's mandolinist is a sweet introduction to all that's right about the state of bluegrass music. Originally falling in love with the instrument after trailing his dad to a Bill Monroe show, Bibey went on to drink in the magic of bluegrass giants Bobby Osborne and Herschel Sizemore, developing a taste for jazz twists via Django Reinhardt's guitar and Jethro Burns' mandolin. It didn't hurt that the North Carolina native was surrounded and supported by his father and uncles through local contests and area conventions. Winning the mandolin championship at the World's Fair in '82 didn't hurt his career choices either, and the talented picker has since rubbed shoulders with the best of the rest in the business, as evidenced by the players on this tasteful release: Jerry Douglas, Tony Rice, Del McCoury, Ronnie Bowman and Kenny Smith. He even takes on lead vocal chores on a few tracks, including the album's best track, "Save Your Heart" - he could give Vince Gill a run for his money. Throughout, the harmonies are addictive, the pacing perfect and the song selection representative of Alan's childhood favourites by Bobby Osborne, Bill Monroe and Herschel Sizemore, to name a few. His own title track is worthy of the company he keeps. The disc is short on time at just under 35 minutes, but it's long on quality and big on soul. (Sugar Hill)