It's fitting that the Rosslyn Mountain Boys end each side of their album "Lone Outsider" with tunes recorded at Desperado's and the Birchmere. The group built its reputation as a fine progressive country band at local clubs, and with some luck "Lone Outsider" will further spread the word. At the very least, the album will reward longtime fans who've wanted to give the band a spin on the turntable but haven't been able to since their Adelphi album went out of print a few years back.
The quintet has two able singers and songwriters in Joe Triplett and Tommy Hannum. Both have a flair for honky-tonkin', a talent no doubt encouraged by high- spirited crowds. But it's Triplett's plaintive ballads that are heard to best advantage on this album. "Tell Me You're Fallin' " and "Southwind," for example, are especially effective, gently luring and holding your attention.
Hannum's pedal steel- and Dobro-playing are album highlights, as are guest performances by musicians familiar to Washington audiences. In addition to band members Peter Bonta, Bob Berberich and Rico Petruccelli, you'll hear Ricky Skaggs, Tom Lofgren and Pete Kennedy, among others.
Not all the songs on "Lone Outsider" are memorable; a few are lackluster. Clearly, the band does some things better in concert than in the studio. But what's often lost in concert -- the group's well-crafted arrangements and balanced musicianship -- is on vinyl for all to hear. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE RECORD ROSSLYN MOUNTAIN BOYS -- Lone Outsider (Schizophonic Records SR 0001). THE SHOW ROSSLYN MOUNTAIN BOYS -- Wednesday at the Birchmere, Thursdays at Quincy's.