Butch Baldassari and Van Manakas
MP3 Sample from the title track
One of the last projects completed before Baldassari’s untimely death, Leavin’ Tennessee pairs the late master of the mandolin with longtime guitar picking colleague Manakas on an extra-long set of right-in-the-groove bluegrass instrumentals.
Backed by bassist Byron House (Sam Bush Band, Robert Plant) and Scott Vestal on banjo, the duo focuses on an elegant set of old favorites and Manakas originals, with additional brilliance supplied by a rotating cast of fiddlers that includes the incomparable Stuart Duncan, Shad Cobb, Barbara Lamb and even the legendary Bobby Hicks.
Whether they’re tearing it up on the hard-driving “Fiddler’s Dream,” laying down some funky acoustic blues on “Bossman,” gliding through the “Fine Waltz” or dishing up a deliciously fresh reading of Kenny Baker’s classic “Bluegrass In The Backwoods,” the virtuosity, creativity, tastefulness and intuitive empathy of this remarkable group of musicians is undeniable—and undeniably pleasing