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.
“Many audience members have come up to me after a show and said, ‘I thought that sound was gone,’” says Dobro master Jerry Douglas, the group’s founder. “And that’s just how it struck me when the band rehearsed the first time. I hadn’t heard that sound since Flatt and Scruggs––experienced that meeting in the air of those notes in that particular way. It’s an emotional experience.”
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 the Earls’ now signature blend of homage, virtuosity, and perspective. The inimitable Douglas remains the band’s producer and hypnotic Dobroist; blue-ribbon songwriter, singer, and producer Camp still soars on lead vocals and guitar; revered multi-instrumentalist and sideman Jeff White now deftly handles high harmony and mandolin; ace Nashville banjoist Charlie Cushman tackles banjo and guitars; topflight musician Johnny Warren cuts in radiantly on fiddle; and the esteemed Barry Bales, a longtime bandmate of Douglas in Alison Krauss and Union Station, holds magnificently steady on vocals and bass. “It’s like the band was predestined to come together,” says Camp. “We all love it. From the very first note of our show, I look around and everybody’s got a smile on their face. There’s just something about the music that makes you feel good.”
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