Published in Bluegrass Unlimited, January 2002. Used with permission.

Monroe Crossing

Across The Blue Mountains


Monroe Crossing is a relatively new band from the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, brought together by a common appreciation for the traditional sounds of Bill Monroe and an interest in exploring some different musical directions. “Across The Blue Mountains” is their first collaboration.

The band members contributed five good original tunes, while drawing the remainder from a variety of sources ranging from old-timey favorites like “Down In The Willow Garden” to Bill Monroe (“Letter From My Darling”) and Gillian Welch (“Annabelle”). The result is generally quiet and low-key, long on sweet, soft harmonies and slow-to-medium tempos. The overall feel, happily, is punctuated by a couple of up-tempo burners like Monroe’s fiddle classic “Tallahassee,” ably rendered on twin fiddles and twin mandolins by Matt Thompson and Lisa Fuglie.

Ten of the fourteen songs clock in at over three and a half minutes, which makes for a lot of music although keeping the listener’s attention for that length of time would be a challenge for even the best pickers in the business. One hates to complain about getting more for your money, but the recording drags a bit by the end. Still, “Across The Blue Mountains” is a credible and thoughtful initial effort. It will be interesting to see where Monroe Crossing goes from here.

Monroe Crossing, 17625 Argon Street NW; Ramsey MN 55303; Web site:

Archie Warnock, [email]

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