Published in Bluegrass Unlimited, June 2005. Used with permission.

On The Edge Review

Apple, Kirby & Rounds

Acoustic Spectrum (no number)

What a treat this CD turns out to be. Brad Apple, Pam Kirby and Gary Rounds aren’t widely known but they ought to be. It’s really refreshing to hear a well-chosen, imaginative selection of songs done in a completely sincere and imaginative way. They have put a lot of careful thought into the songs and arrangements and it shows. It’s acoustic country, but with a bluegrass sensibility that many bluegrass bands would do well to study.

They do songs mostly from outside of the bluegrass songbook — songs like like Neil Young’s Unknown Legend and Little Rock, done originally by pop-country crooner Collin Raye — but they’ve them interpreted with a low-key, warm feel that comes off as good as or better than the originals. At the same time, they’ve taken an old chestnut like Sea of Heartbreak that definitely didn’t need to be recorded yet again and given it a fresh feel that harks back to the old Don Gibson original. Hired guns Randy Kohrs (dobro) and Tim Crouch (fiddle) play their roles perfectly, filling in the cracks without overplaying.

This is a showcase recording that deserves a serious listen, both for the fine musical quality and for the great care and imagination that obviously went into putting it together. Well-rounded material, combined with superb vocals — Gary Rounds especially — makes Apple, Kirby & Rounds worth seeking out. It’s a winner!

Acoustic Spectrum, 110 Baker School Road, Batesville, AK 72501

Archie Warnock, [email]

Archie's BU Review Page