Peter Cooper runs it down in the Tennessean
The official Rounder Records memo:
Three Bells (one of two CDs released this week by Jerry Douglas) is an historic collaboration between fellow Dobro masters Jerry Douglas, Mike Auldridge, and Rob Ickes, marks a personally-charged landmark in all three gentlemen’s expansive bodies of work. In addition to marking the three musicians’ first work together since 1994′s Grammy-winning The Great Dobro Sessions, Three Bells features the final recordings of Douglas’ and Ickes’ longtime friend and mentor Auldridge, who passed away on December 28, 2012, shortly after the recording sessions were completed.
In a career that spans four decades and encompasses over 2000 recordings, Jerry Douglas has more than earned his status as one of the world’s most celebrated musicians. In addition to his instrumental mastery, the 13-time Grammy winner and three-time Country Music Association Musician of the Year has established a reputation as a ceaselessly inventive recording artist who has drawn from a bottomless well of rootsy styles to create a consistently compelling string of solo albums and collaborative projects.
“The goal was not necessarily to make a record,” Douglas explains. “The idea was simply to record some things together, because we needed to, and if there was time and we were able to get enough done, maybe it would become a record. Fortunately, that’s how it worked out.”
Three Bells finds these master musicians employing their prodigious talents to create a set of spare, emotionally affecting instrumental performances of original tunes as well as some venerable pop and country numbers. Selections include “For Buddy,” which Auldridge adapted from an exercise originated by Nashville pedal steel legend Buddy Emmons, the early Tin Pan Alley hit “Silver Threads Among The Gold” and the sentimental title track, best known to Americans in the Browns’ hit 1959 country version but originally a French pop standard, “Les Trois Cloches,” recorded by Edith Piaf, the Andrews Sisters and others.