JAMES KING Thirty Years Of Farming (Rounder) Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
The sad reality of the O Brother phenomenon is that while the popular success of the soundtrack will sell a few more discs for the participants -- many of whom don't need the help -- the trickle-down effect is negligible for old-time heartsong hold-outs like James King. And he could really use a little attention. Regardless, he'll keep on tearing up bluegrass festivals and continue releasing genuinely moving music, as you'll find on Thirty Years Of Farming. Besides his soulfully understated reading of Fred Eaglesmith's neatly crafted title track, King matches his impressive interpretative skill with wise song choices, snazzy arrangements and stellar musicianship. This is the real stuff.