Sally Van Meter

All In Good Time

Sugar Hill, 1991

If you're a fan of the Good Ol' Persons, then you already know Sally Van Meter's excellent Dobro playing. If not, here's the perfect place to start. Van Meter is joined here by most of the Persons as well as alumni of Grant Street (Laurie Lewis' band), and stylistically this is about what you'd expect from such a crew -- polished, modern bluegrass. Eight of the eleven tracks are instrumentals drawn from sources ranging from Kenny Baker ("High Country") and Bill Monroe ("Road to Columbus") to banjo player Tony Furtado (the new-acoustic style "Tyson's Dream"). Producer Jerry Douglas adds a second dobro to two songs, which is an interesting effect -- it's not often you hear dobros in harmony! Van Meter's not a "flash" player -- her great strength is the beautiful, lyrical tone she conjures out of her instrument. This is especially well demonstrated on the slow "Annie's Waltz"; as a tune it's not one of my favorites, but as a showcase for her playing it's excellent.

The only real low points here come back-to-back, with a maudlin T-Bone Burnett song, "The Bird That I Held In My Hand", followed by a soppy Latin instrumental, "Amor de mi Vida". With those exceptions, though, the album is of consistently high quality, and flows nicely. The supporting cast is excellent, especially John Reischman from the GOP's on mandolin, ex-Grant Streeters Furtado and Scott Nygaard, and Mike Marshall on fiddle. I can never get enough of Van Meter's playing with the Good Ol' Persons, so a whole album featuring her is a real treat.

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