Kelly Lancaster is a musician who takes in inspiration from many different places. Some of his inspirational figures that he cites are: Emily Remler, Django Reinhardt, Dr. John, Gordon Lightfoot, Norman Blake, Elton John, Tony Rice, Herb Ellis, Bireli Lagrene, Jim Croce, among many others. That says a lot about a musician. Lancaster has been playing professionally since he was 15 years old, and it shows. His virtuosity is clearly evident on this album.
The highpoints on this album are the tracks that are in the gypsy jazz style. Lancaster is astounding in this particular style, and could easily rival that of Bireli Lagrene, Ishmael Reinhardt, or Frank Vignola. Outstanding tracks include Lancaster's take on "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Minor Swing," "Sheik of Araby" and "Pigalle."
Besides being an incredible musician, and group player, Lancaster plays multiple instruments on this album such as guitar, mandolin, and even acoustic bass on three of the tracks. Despite Lancaster's insatiable group efforts and multi-instrumental skills, he also plays six solo tracks on the album ("Old Joe Clark," "Lonesome Fiddle Blues," "Arkansas Traveler," "Alabama Jubilee," "Drowsy Maggie," "What a Friend I Have in Jesus").
Lancaster's sidemen are definitely worth mentioning as well. Vladimir Kotsiouruba's violin work on "Pigalle," "Minor Swing," and "Kolomeike (Hot Dishes)" is nothing short of amazing. As is Randy Powell's fiddle on "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Sam Gamgee" and "The Sheik of Araby."
High Lonesome Gypsy is an album for those who dig gypsy-tinged jazz by extremely virtuostic musicians. If you are a fan of Bireli Lagrene, Ishmael Reinhardt, Frank Vignola, Mark O'Connor, or Django Reinhardt, you will definitely enjoy High Lonesome Gypsy by Kelly Lancaster.