Dixie Flyers Right on Track

As a bluegrass institution in Canada since the 1970s, London, Ontario’s Dixie Flyers continue to stay true to Bill Monroe’s vision after receiving the master’s blessing early in their career. However, the selections on this new release find the group tackling several country classics, specifically several from the pen of Merle Haggard ("Ramblin’ Fever” and "Rainbow Stew”). But there’s doubt of the band’s commitment to the old school feel. They many not be the flashiest pickers anymore, but leaders Bert Baumbach and Ken Palmer deftly arrange their material, allowing ample space for their instrumental skills to shine, as well as those of banjo player Paul Hurdle, dobro player Al Widmeyer, and fiddlers John P. Allen and Peter Robertson. It all works together best on the instrumentals "Maggie’s Tune” and "Bye Bye Blues,” which evoke a true back porch feel. That isn’t a slight against the group’s vocals, but they’re a far cry from what is normally described as "high and lonesome.” Still, Right On Track is another solid effort from an important Canadian roots outfit, and should be of interest to any bluegrass or old time music fan. (Independent)