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Neither act practices an especially pure strain of bluegrass, but they're both worth hearing. Chris Hillman will probably always be best known for music he made four decades ago, playing in country-rock progenitors the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers. But he's stayed devoted to country, and in the 80s he founded the Desert Rose Band, pursuing a purer take on twang; that's where he began playing regularly with guitarist and banjoist Herb Pedersen (with whom he'd been working sporadically since the early 60s). They've maintained a duo since the late 90s, and on their latest album, the 2010 live release At Edwards Barn (Rounder), they merge bluegrass and honky-tonk (and even a touch of Mexican folk, on a version of "Tu Cancion"), whether on a revision of the Byrds hit "Eight Miles High" or on original gospel tunes. The vocal harmonies don't quite reach the heights Hillman achieved with Roger McGuinn and Gram Parsons, but they often come close—as you can hear on a lovely version of "Have You Seen Her Face," a Hillman tune he recorded with the Byrds.
Chivirico Dávila, Chivirico (Cotique/Fania)
Googoosh, Googoosh (B-Music/Finders Keepers)
The Crystals, Da Doo Ron Ron: The Very Best of the Crystals (Phil Spector/Legacy)
Nico Huijbregts, Falsche Tango (Vindu Music)
Samo Salamon European Quartet, Nano (Zalozba Goga)