Spun: John Starling and Carolina Star

Back in 1971, a group of friends in Maryland formed a bluegrass band called the Seldom Scene. The main rule for membership in the band was that each member had to keep their day job, playing music on the weekends just for fun. Throughout the years, the Seldom Scene changed membership often, but fans of the group often note that the original membership is considered the best. Lucky for them, original members John Starling, Mike Auldridge and Tom Gray have reunited to form John Starling and Carolina Star. Their first album, Slidin’ Home, is a solid, if ordinary effort.

Straight from the opening track, the ain’t-got-no-money travelling song “Waitin’ for a Train,” Slidin’ Home showcases the breezy quality of the album. The tempo runs the gamut from the bitter lamentation of “Those Two Blue Eyes” to the moroseness of “In My Hour of Darkness”–even taking time out for a pair of rollicking instrumentals part way–but never loses energy. While several songs could be flashier, nothing drags.

Though this is Starling’s first album in more than a decade, and his first with his bandmates in even longer, Slidin’ Home is an energetic trek into the world of country and bluegrass. For fans of the genre, the album never outstays its welcome.

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