Every year since 1995, Pinecastle Records has released an album of bluegrass instrumentals that should be of interest to anyone intrigued by the genre. Under the guidance of banjo picker/producer Scott Vestal, "Bluegrass 2000" utilizes the talents of a host of repeat performers, including guitarist Jeff Autry, bassist Mark Schatz, mandolin wizard Wayne Benson and dobro player Randy Kohrs. Holding down the fiddle chair is Ron Stewart, the only newcomer.
In addition to the standard bluegrass riffs, these guys also dabble in the kind of country-inflected acoustic jazz pioneered by Tony Rice, David Grisman and Bela Fleck. Rice's "Swing 51" dances around the beat like Django Reinhardt reincarnated, while Vestal's "Surge," the album closer, has the potential to be a classic in its own right.