home listen reviews artists a-z
Three Ring Circle

THREE RING CIRCLE • Three Ring Circle

Virtuosity is sometimes its own worst enemy, but you won't hear any of that from Three Ring Circle. These three giants of string have rolled the right amounts of reverence and humor and the hard earned ability to play anything that comes to their minds or just rolling off their hands into a record that's a pleasure to listen to, beyond something that will just confound mere mortals.

One way they do that is by picking a couple of tunes you recognize and giving them treatments that let you inside of them then turn them inside out. Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" sounds great without lyrics and without all the push of the original--great songs tend to have a remarkable malleability. And TRC's take on Jeff Beck's "You Know What I Mean" is an ear-opener. Another way they do it is they stay around the melody sufficiently so you don't get lost in the woods with no crumbs to find your way home. And these are three guys that could leave you in the dust in a heartbeat.

Rob Ickes has been the IBMA dobro player of the year quite a few times, and is featured in the outstanding Gospel Bluegrass group Blue Highway. Multi-instrumentalist Andy Leftwich is one of the self-combustible elements and driving forces of Ricky Skaggs' Kentucky Thunder. Bassist Dave Pomeroy has played on or produced so many important records and groups, one doesn't know where to begin a list of his credits. Suffice it to say he's a key player in the modern history of Nashville.

Veterans of ten thousand gigs, they mix the moods and the tempos of the tunes in a way that lets your ears and your body move through the gears and stay awake to the wonder of what's going on. This is a must have for lovers of instrumental music, and that's a big crowd. (You know at least one, surprise them with this record.) Even a song and lyric junkie like this writer needs to get away from the words now and then, and I greatly enjoyed this joyful respite by masters who show us all how it's done without leaving you blown out on the trail. Highly recommended.
• Frank Goodman

return to covers      listen to clips     buy it here

threeringcircle.com      davepomeroy.com

robickes.com      andy's page at skaggsfamilyrecords.com

puremusic home