BLUE HIGHWAY, “Sounds of Home,” Rounder. 12 tracks

Sometimes when you read the lists of people named rookie of the year in any field, you find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to them?”

But when the International Bluegrass Music Association named Blue Highway as its emerging artist of the year in 1995, it knew what it was doing.

The band has consistently released outstanding albums year after year and been one of the best bands on any festival card.

“Sounds of Home,” the band’s 10th album, is its first with all original material in a decade.

“Nobody’s Fault but Mine,” a gospel song first recorded by Blind Willie Johnson in the late 1920s, is the only song band members didn’t write. But this version was arranged by the band.

The title cut finds a man missing the familiar sounds of the home he couldn’t wait to leave when he was young.

“Heather And Billy” tells the story of a couple who filled their home with abused and neglected children.

“Restless Working Man” is the story of a man who’s working himself to death at a job he hates because “the ones at home depend on me/to keep ’em fed and make their way.”

“Only Seventeen” tells the story of young miner killed in a cave-in, whose ghost still walks the mine’s passageways 50 years later.

“Drinking from a Deeper Well” suggests that people slow down and appreciate life.

Strong album from a great band.

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