Coming to you from the wild mountains of Montana are two well-crafted, low-key CDs from Mike and Tari Conroy, with friend Steve Ralston. A Beautiful Picture is a collection of gospel songs done in the Skaggs & Rice tradition – just two voices, accompanied by mandolin and guitar. All of the tunes are well-known, familiar favorites. There’s no new ground broken here, but the performance is clean and sincere with a simplicity that lets the listener get right to the core of the music.
Instrumental Favorites features Mike Conroy on mandolin and Ralston on lead guitar, rambling through a collection of fifteen instrumental duets. Again, most of the tunes are familiar, with a couple of notable exceptions like Hot Stuff, probably most familiar from the recording by Mike Auldridge & Old Dog. The diversity is awfully nice, from breakdowns to blues to waltzes. Conroy and Ralston are fine pickers and Instrumental Favorites is a fine showcase for their skills.