Darrell Scott -- Modern Hymns

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Modern Hymns

The resulting covers are more than reverent homages, though; these are fresh takes on songs you know, and the songs open up in new ways because of the instrumentation and Scott's phrasing. Paul Simon's "American Tune" -- an elegiac, heavily orchestrated lullaby in its original incarnation -- emerges here as a quietly mournful lament, the song of a weary coal miner rather than the faintly grandiose merger of Bach and the Brill Building. It's a great song either way, but it's all the more starkly beautiful in Scott's hands. Aided and abetted by the likes of Alison Krauss, Mary Gauthier, Tim O'Brien, Del and Ronnie McCoury, Danny Thompson, and Sam Bush, Scott sings simply, soulfully, and beautifully, and the rest of his talented cast adds the filligree. It's a lovely album, easily one of the highlights of my musical year.