Ronnie King - Free Of GuiltRONNIE KING
Kindred Records KR47397

Though it’s a folk rock/Americana album, Ronnie King’s Free Of Guilt is of note to bluegrass fans because of the artist’s career with the band New River Line and the presence on this album of the incomparable Dale Ann Bradley, whose excellent backup singing on ten of 12 tracks is worth the price of admission alone.

There’s also good instrumental work from King (mandolin, guitar), Matt DeSpain (resonator guitar) and Daniel Carwile (fiddle), but once you’re in the door, it’s King’s songwriting that keeps you in your seat. The wistful “I’d Like To See You” is Dylanesque, while “Pretty Little Gypsy” channels a bit of Robert Earl Keen, whose voice and delivery King’s somewhat resembles.

But King definitely has a voice of his own, which comes through loud and clear on standouts like “Do You Think He’d Like My Style,” a roundabout tribute to Jesse James, the pensive “My Last Days On Earth,” and the philosophical “Shrug It Off.” There’s plenty here to enjoy for its own sake, and perhaps some material for an adventurous bluegrass band to take a shot at. (Kindred Records, 65 Scott Hill Rd., Irvine, KY 40336, AKH