IIIrd Tyme Out Back To The Mac

Checking my records, IIIrd Tyme Out has already gone the live route (1998's Live At The Mac) but despite the "our fans demanded it" rationale, it's not like you're losing anything - these guys are as skintight live as they are on record. Of course, being seven-time winners of "Vocal Group Of The Year" doesn't hurt either. Russell Moore's pipes exude emotional warmth, which proves essential for their largely gospel-based bluegrass material. Add to this their patented, award-winning combination of heavenly harmonies and blistering instrumental prowess and they quickly distance themselves from all competition. Their play-list includes tracks by Bill Monroe, Lester Flatts and ex-boss Doyle Lawson, but they also pay homage to great traditional fare, such as "East Tennessee Blues," which allows Wayne Benson's mandolin and Mike Hartgrove's fiddle to take flight. "When My Time Comes To Go" showcases Steve Dilling's fiery banjo picking while the Monroe Brothers' "Drifting Too Far From Home" demonstrates the intricate and intoxicating vocal interplay that has earned them their basement full of trophies. There's no denying that IIIrd Tyme Out are on top of their game, and Back To The Mac has just bought them a lot more time at the plate. (Rounder)