Reviews of bluegrass music releasesNovember 9, 2018 9:46am

Nov. 07-- JD CROWE & RICKY WASSON, "Hats off To Haggard," Truegrass Entertainment. 12 tracks.

If you're a fan of the late Merle Haggard and bluegrass music, this is an album you'll want to have.

In 2016, J.D. Crowe and Ricky Wasson, former lead singer in Crowe's New South, went into the studio with Steve Chandler to record a tribute album to Merle Haggard.

"Of all the recordings I've done through the years, this project is one of my all-time favorites because of my favorite singer, songwriter, musician and best of all friend, Merle Haggard," Crowe writes in the liner notes.

Mark Fain, Harry Stinson, Dan Tyminski and Stuart Duncan came aboard to pick and Tyminski, Alison Krauss and Suzanne Cox joined on background vocals.

Haggard even contributed lead vocals on "Living With The Shades Pulled Down."

According to the liner notes, they finished mixing the last track, "When My Last Song Is Sung," at 1:06 a.m. on April 6, 2016.

Haggard died at his home in California a few hours later.

A somewhat eerie coincidence.

Wasson sounds close enough to Haggard to make the tribute sound close to the original.

And the music is definitely bluegrass.

Songs include "Always On A Mountain When I Fall," "Big City," "Hungry Eyes," "Ramblin' Fever," "I Wonder Where I'll Find You At Tonight" (a lesser known song from 1985); "California Cotton Fields," "Daddy Frank," "Old Man From The Mountain," "Kentucky Gambler," "Living With The Shades Pulled Down," "Farmer's Daughter" and "When My Last Song Is Sung."

Look for it at truegrassentertainment.com/hats-off-to-haggard.

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(Email Keith Lawrence at klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com.)

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(c)2018 Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer

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