Flatpicking nirvana! When Bryan Sutton—whose rippling lines and fat tones are among the finest to emerge from a steel-string’s soundhole—decided to record a series of duets with those who helped shape his playing, he grabbed a portable recording rig and visited a bevy of the world’s top pickers. The result is Not Too Far from the Tree—an amazing collection of 6-string conversations, as well as a breathtaking overview of the flatpicker’s art. Sutton’s musical partners include both trailblazers and modern masters: crosspicking pioneer George Shuffler, Norman Blake, Dan Crary, bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs, Jack Lawrence, David Grier, flat-top sensei Doc Watson, Russ Barenberg, Ricky Skaggs, Dobro king Jerry Douglas, and Tony Rice. As an added bonus, Sutton turns in a beautiful piece with his first guitar teacher—his father—recorded in the living room where the young Sutton once practiced. In each duet, the guitars are recorded simply and naturally, allowing us to focus on each picker’s unique style, and also dig the sonic differences between the various Martin, Taylor, Bourgeois, Gallagher, Gibson, and Huss & Dalton dreadnoughts (which are all detailed in the liner notes). Packed with red-hot versions of traditional tunes, Not Too Far from the Tree belongs in every flatpicker’s collection, and is destined to become a classic.(Sugar Hill).
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