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Mark O'Connor makes music a family enterprise / The Buffalo News

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When Fiddler Mark O'Connor was 12 he first performed on the stage of the Grand Ol' Opry. "I'll always vividly remember Roy Acuff introducing me to the crowd," he says now. When his family performed with him this time, it was different. But then country and roots music has been full of family bands for many, many decades. A family country band was, for instance, how the late, great jazz bass player Charlie Haden first played music, and it's something he returned to spectacularly in his final years.

What the O'Connor Family band does here is a patch on that incredible Haden Family band record, but it's reasonably appealing on its own. When it turns into tail-kicking bluegrass ("Ruby, Are You Mad At Your Man?"), it's a lot more fun than it is on a couple of the slack, halfhearted ballads and mid-tempo laments. But O'Connor and his mandolin-playing son, Forrest, can play a ton, and assorted wives and fiancees don't hurt a bit. The Hadens are still the unquestioned champs at this sort of record, but O'Connor is, when he wants, a sulfurous fiddler and he and his bunch do fine, thank you, just fine.

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