When you’ve got a little black book loaded with contacts you use them don’t you? And in the case of dobro maestro Jerry Douglas that’s quite some book. Paul Simon, Alison Krauss, Eric Clapton etc they’re all in there and only too pleased to lend a hand on this, his thirteenth solo album. I first became aware of Jerry’s playing in 1987 on Davy Spillane’s “Atlantic Bridge” album and was stunned by the musicality and expression on what I thought at the time was a pretty anodyne instrument. Of course, since then I’ve become an avid fan and Mr Douglas’s collaborations are without doubt some of the most stimulating I have encountered anywhere captured on numerous silver disks. From the opening blues of Huddie Ledbetter’s “On A Monday” it’s pleasing to hear his vocal talents coming to the fore. OK, so he may not be Alfie Boe or Andrea Bocelli but then again I’m sure he’s not trying to be…just happy in the knowledge that he’s able to hold a song for solo projects. If I was to choose a favourite track then I’d go for “Right On Time” where Jerry is joined by vocalist Marc Cohn showing an almost empathic restraint on lap steel guitar. This is the kind of album in which the listener feels proud in the knowledge that they know something the greater public are unaware of and in this respect I mean Jerry has enriched our lives and although not a ‘star’ in the truest sense of the word the world of country and folk music would be a poorer place without him. The accolades for this album will doubtless come thick and fast and personally speaking none more deservedly so.
Artist’s website: www.jerrydouglas.com