The Earls of Leicester have discovered a kind of magic that, when harnessed, allows moments once relegated to memories to roar back to life. Old sounds rattle loose chains of space and time that have kept us from forgotten joys and who we once were. Suddenly, as we listen to and watch the Earls pick, saw, and croon, instead of contemplating once upon a time, we are living it. With their second album Rattle & Roar (Rounder Records), the Earls have conjured up a fresh batch of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs songs, delivered with their Grammy-winning signature blend of homage, virtuosity, and perspective.
The inimitable Jerry Douglas (14-time Grammy-winner) remains the band's producer and hypnotic Dobroist; blue-ribbon songwriter, singer, and producer Shawn Camp (Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton) still soars on lead vocals and guitar; revered multi-instrumentalist and sideman Jeff White (Vince Gill, Loretta Lynn) now deftly handles high harmony and mandolin; ace Nashville banjoist Charlie Cushman (Jimmy Martin, Mel Tillis) tackles banjo and guitars; topflight musician Johnny Warren (son of Foggy Mountain Boys' Paul Warren) cuts in radiantly on fiddle; and the esteemed Barry Bales (Alison Krauss & Union Station) holds magnificently steady on vocals and bass.
To capture the feel of a live show, Rattle & Roar was recorded in one room, with all of the band members around mics, no separation between them. The result pulses with impish joy, uniquely showcasing artists at the top of their game as they delight in their work not just as creators, but also as fans struck with childlike awe.