Four albums by the legendary Earl Scruggs – all recorded in the years after he'd split with famous partner Lester Flatt, and moved on to work with a younger array of partners in the Earl Scruggs Revue! Given the way that Scruggs revolutionized the sound of American banjo in the postwar years, he'd always found strong interest from a younger audience – but with these records, he almost seems to give back directly to that group – by working with sons Randy and Gary, the younger of whol sings a lot of lead vocals – and almost brings a roots rock approach to the music.
One-half of the legendary banjo duo Flatt & Scruggs, Earl Scruggs formed his eponymous Revue upon the demise of his longtime partnership with Lester Flatt in early 1969, and promptly began unleashing a stream of excellent albums. Anniversary Special arrived in 1975, marking the banjo man's 25th anniversary of signing with Columbia/CBS Records. It was a guest star-laden affair, with Scruggs and his two sons, the core of the Revue, joined in the studio by a host of country, folk, and other far-flung luminaries.
In the dense annual blizzard of holiday albums, A VERY SPECIAL ACOUSTIC CHRISTMAS shines like a gleaming treetop star from a warm, inviting living room, thanks to its organic, no-frills approach and its remarkable lineup of performers. Dan Tyminski (of O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? fame) offers up a charming version of "Frosty the Snowman," while Willie Nelson lends his legendary voice and guitar playing to a fine take on "Please Come Home for Christmas." Alison Krauss contributes her surprisingly poppy "Only You Can Bring Me Cheer (Gentleman's Lady)," Marty Stuart confides that "Even Santa Claus Gets the Blues," and Pat Green saunters through a relaxed "Winter Wonderland." Bringing the Yuletide album to an appropriate close is Norah Jones, in a beautiful solo rendition of Horace Silver's "Peace".