Wide Open

The guys in Mountain Heart have instrumental chops any bluegrass band would envy—that's why members have been tapped to play with Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krauss and others. On their fifth album, Wide Open, they also sport crisp, radio-friendly production and a solid collection of tunes, ranging from potential crossover hits ("God and Everybody") to dark, cinematic epics ("Here I Am") and traditional 'grass rave-ups ("Wide Open," "Deadwood"). Even when the songs sag, the band's virtuosity keeps the album moving—as when fiddler Jim Van Cleve lights up the otherwise forgettable "Everybody but Me."

—Matthew Everett

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