Ricky Skaggs, "Solo (Songs My Dad Loved)"

Album Review

If these are indeed the songs Ricky Skaggs' father sang to him as a child, it's a wonder he didn't suffer from perpetual nightmares. There's some awfully sober terrain covered on these 13 bluegrass and folk tracks, from the likes of the Stanley Brothers, the Monroe Brothers, Clyde Moody and the public domain. But Skaggs, who plays more than a dozen instruments and harmonizes with himself on this one-man-band set, tucks into all of them with a joyful and unapologetic reverence. The result makes "Solo (Songs My Dad Loved)" truly feel like an intimate, fly-on-the wall field recording. Such instrumentals as "Colonel Prentiss," "Pickin' in Caroline" and "Calloway" give Skaggs room to show off his multitracked chops, while tracks like "Sinners, You Better Get Ready," "Green Pastures in the Sky" and "God Holds the Future in His Hands" offer case studies in how spirituality was communicated in rural Appalachia. -Gary Graff