Howlin’ At the Moon
4 out of 5 stars
If you’ve been to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival there’s a 99 percent chance you’ve heard the title track to this album. That track was written by Colorado picker Jim Ratts and bluegrass legend John McEuen, but it was Telluride staple Sam Bush who took the song to number three on the bluegrass charts.
This album, which Ratts says is a 60th birthday present to himself, is a testament to doing things right. Even someone who disdains bluegrass music cannot find flaws in this album’s execution and presentation. From the absolutely impeccable artwork (designed by award winners Greg Carr and Salli Ratts) to the phenomenal production value to the spot-on playing by a giant list of pickers, Howlin’ at the Moon is most certainly a best-foot-forward project, and one that pays homage to a softer side of bluegrass that’s sometimes hard to see in Colorado’s jamgrass scene.
— Brian F. Johnson