Bela Fleck

Bela Fleck

The Bluegrass Sessions – Tales from the Acoustic Planet, Volume 2

Warner Bros.

You gotta like Bela Fleck on some level. I admire his daring and his adventurousness. Some of his forays into the traditional arena leave me a little cold, however. This is a stellar lineup of guest musicians, with Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Tony Rice, Vassar Clements, John Hartford, Ricky Scaggs and even the legendary Earl Scruggs. This is Bela’s dream band, and three generations of bluegrass are represented here. It does have several high points, and the musicianship is no less than exceptional. I also appreciate the humor that he brings to songs like “Major Honker” and “Polka on the Banjo,” but something about the assembly of all of these musicians begs for a different guiding force. As a novelty, it works pretty well, but something that I can’t quite explain makes me feel that they are taking this more seriously than it deserves. Maybe I’m expecting too much. I guess I wish it was funnier. I can’t say that it’s bad, it’s just that I have this nagging feeling that with all this talent, it should be better…. (Which is sorta the way I always felt about John Hartford and Vassar Clements).

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