A few years back, John Cowan had a dobro player who could step up and play breakneck solos and sing tenor harmonies over Cowan, a feat previously thought impossible. It was obvious that Randy Kohrs would only be a background picker and singer for so long, and after taking a few other gigs, including a stint with Dolly Parton, Kohrs broke out on his own, releasing three solo albums over the last decade. His new one, Quicksand, is his most impressive play yet to join the pantheon of bluegrass players.
Kohrs surrounds himself with a long list of musicians on the record, ringers like Scott Vestal on banjo, Adam Steffey on mandolin, and Tim Crouch on fiddle, and Kohrs himself is a deft player who boasts a clear, effective tenor. There are several high-water marks on Quicksand, none better than “Time and Time Again”, a slamming piece of bluegrass dynamite with a great country hook (“You two-timed me this time one time too often”). Kohrs’ most conspicuous limitation as a frontman is how little of the material here is written by him, just a handful of co-writing credits, and some of the outside material choices are puzzling, especially the Puritanical warning, “If You Think It’s Hot Here” (“Just wait until those pearly gates close.” Yikes.). Still, Quicksand is an overall successful, diverse record from one of the genre’s most talented voices.
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