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Bryan Sutton

BLUEGRASS GUITAR  (Sugar Hill)  •  Bryan Sutton

So clean, so sweet, so insanely good. And not just good, but truly beautiful. A lot of my favorite flatpickers have more pick in the sound, and a much more piston-like approach. That's a very exciting sound, and I still love that. What Bryan Sutton has going on is amazingly fluid in comparison, not a wealth of attack in the sound. The notes come raining down more like a waterfall than a hail of bullets. Personally, I like romantic flicks and very violent gangster flicks, just a question of mood and company.

Bryan's from the musical hotbed of Asheville, North Carolina. Already burnin the frets in high school in various styles, he hit the road with a couple of contemporary Gospel groups (Tina Peck and Mid South) before he made the leap to Nashville, where his road to stardom lay. He smoked into national view as part of Ricky Skaggs' triumphant return to Bluegrass in 1997 on his incredible CD Bluegrass Rules, where Bryan's playing received rave reviews. In the half dozen years since, he's released now a pair of records on his own and been a big part of recordings by The Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton, Rhonda Vincent, Jerry Douglas, Joe Nichols, and an absolute dream list of outstanding artists.

Sutton's the hottest flatpicking property in Nashville these days, which is of course like being the hottest DJ in NYC. But he's gone far beyond the bluegrass prodigy stereotype, and when you see him with The Hot Club of Nashville on the first Thursday of most months at The Station Inn, he'll be playing gypsy jazz and other styles as well. Can't wait to see him rock out on electric some eccentric evening. The way he swings on "Beaumont Rag" is a hoot, a very hip groove. And the feeling he puts into an instrumental waltz will just kill ya.

He must be a fabulous person, because the personality running through his playing on this record is a soft bright warm light on what seems like a pretty dark road sometimes. The man is unbelievable, hear it for yourself on the Listen page, and buy it here. • FG

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