November 22, 2005
Known for playing wicked bluegrass Dobro with Alison Krauss & Union Station, and adding vibey squareneck holler to hundreds of country albums, resonator king Jerry Douglas reveals exciting new sides of his musical persona on his latest solo record. Whether picking vocoder-drenched lap steel, trading hot licks with Derek Trucks, probing spacey blues with Bill Frisell, paying tribute to Weather Report with Joe Zawinul’s “A Remark You Made,” or tearing through hi-octane, new-acoustic riffage with Sam Bush and Béla Fleck, Douglas pushes his Tipton bar into fresh, adventurous realms. His fat, squishy electric tones contrast beautifully with his taut acoustic colors, and, as always, his intonation is perfect—even at synapse-frying tempos. Krauss and John Fogerty each provide guest vocals (Krauss tackles L.T.D.’s funky 1977 hit “Back in Love Again,” a real departure for her), but otherwise the album is an instrumental affair. The Best Kept Secret sets a new benchmark for lap slide virtuosity. Koch.