Dan Crary revolutionized bluegrass guitar, or rather, he brought it back to the center of the tradition, revitalizing the flatpicking sound of decades gone by... One of the most renowned guitarists in the bluegrass scene, Crary set the bar for pickers from the 1970s 'til now... Here's a quick look at his work...
Bluegrass Alliance "Bluegrass Alliance" (American Heritage, 1969)
Crary picked guitar in the original lineup of this influential early '70s band, with fiddler Lonnie Peerce, Buddy Spurlock on banjo, and Ebo Walker on bass...
Dan Crary "Bluegrass Guitar" (American Heritage, 1970)
This album was a bluegrass landmark, which helped change the course of modern bluegrass. Crary tool old fiddle tunes and transposed them for the guitar, putting his flatpicking style in the center of the music and re-establishing the guitar as a lead instrument for the genre. His approach was an important influence on an entire generation of pickers... Plus, it's sweet music, too. Mostly traditional tunes -- "Blackberry Blossom," "Forked Deer" -- played with a mixture of feeling and form, a hint of the academic, but also with some front porch twang. The recording quality is a little primitive, echoey and empty-roomish, but the music is great.
Dan Crary "Lady's Fancy" (Rounder, 1977)
This is a nice set of bluegrass guitar instrumentals -- Crary is as sleek and expressive a flatpicker as you could ever hope for -- but it's also a bit on the safe side, and all starts to sound the same after a few tracks. If sheer musicianship wows you, this is a fine album, with several heavy-hitters on hand to back Crary up... Sam Bush? Sure. John Cowan? John Reisman? Why not? One fun note is to see future commerical country hunk Vince Gill on the ticket as well, still in his bluegrassy phase (and getting teased by Crary in the liner notes, too!) This disc may be all about technical perfection, but there's plenty of feeling and soul in it as well.
Dan Crary "Sweet Southern Girl" (Sugar Hill, 1979) (LP)
Byron Berline/Dan Crary/John Hickman "Berline, Crary, Hickman" (Sugar Hill, 1981) (LP)
Dan Crary "Guitar" (Sugar Hill, 1983)
Byron Berline/Dan Crary/John Hickman "Night Run" (Sugar Hill, 1984) (LP)
Dan Crary/Byron Berline/John Hickman "BCH" (Sugar Hill, 1986) (LP)
Dan Crary "Take A Step Over" (Sugar Hill, 1989)
Dan Crary/Byron Berline/John Hickman/Steve Spurgin "Now They Are Four" (Sugar Hill, 1989)
Dan Crary "Thunderation" (Sugar Hill, 1991)
Dan Crary "Traveler" (Sugar Hill, 1992)
Dan Crary "Jammed If I Do" (Sugar Hill, 1994)
Dan Crary "Holiday Guitar" (Sugar Hill, 1997)
Dan Crary & Lonnie Hoppers "...And Their American Band" (Pinecastle, 2000)
A laid-back set of progressive bluegrass and Americana-y acoustic tunes, with typically sweet, tasteful guitar work by Dan Crary, solid banjo playing by Lonnie Hoppers, and particularly noteworthy fiddling by Jamie Haage. This is a pleasantly relaxed set by some old timers with nothing to prove except their love of refined roots music. Not blistering, drag-race-y bluegrass, but mighty fine for those of us who can take things at a slower pace.
Beppe Gambetta & Dan Crary "Synergia" (Thunderation, 2000)
Dan Crary/Byron Berline/John Hickman "Chambergrass: A Decade Of Tunes From The Edges Of Bluegrass" (Sugar Hill, 2006)
Dan Crary "Renaissance Of The Steel String Guitar" (Thunderation, 2004)
Hick Music Index