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Moody Bluegrass Two . . . Much Love

Bluegrass traditions are light-years removed from modern music, which can make the practice of “grassifying” old rock songs a hit-and-miss affair. Even the well-rendered first Moody Bluegrass album had a few uneasy lava-lamp moments among its backwoods interpretations of British art-rockers The Moody Blues. Producer David Harvey has successfully revisited his concept, transforming a second set of songs into credible acoustic versions with the help of top-flight players and guest vocalists including Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs as well as Moody Blues principals, whose presence further legitimizes the project. On this outing, the results are more stylistically unified, as Harvey unearths lesser-known gems that function well as country-style songs despite a few distracting indulgences. The spiritual and social overtones so common in Moody Blues lyrics nicely suit the bluegrass genre, and the band’s rich melodies spring to life with unexpected freshness in this warm, easygoing context. The thoughtful and seldom boisterous Moodies often seemed out of sync with their 1970s rock contemporaries; this comfortably countrified collection helps explain why.

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