Morning Glory Music MGM190524
Morning Glory Music (Mountain Fever Records) has released this first all-gospel recording by Grasstowne, which brings their total album count to five. It’s a very strong result with songs written by several of bluegrass music’s well-known composers, but also one from Alan Bibey himself. The vocals and arrangements are top-notch, making for repeated enjoyable listening.
The project opens with The Louvins’ “Born Again” and then moves to “When Jesus Swings The Wrecking Ball,” released initially as a single from the pens of Donna Ulisse and Rick Stanley. The song features some catchy fingerpicking guitar by banjoist Justin Jenkins, with Alan on mandolin and lead vocals. Fiddler Laura Orshaw handles tenor vocals, with Zak McLamb singing baritone and playing bass. The lyrics describe what happens when one builds on the foundation of sin. Ronnie Bowman and Bob Miner’s “Bloodstained Bible” is included, with a powerful story about a D-Day invasion chaplain administering to the dying soldiers. The band delivers Barney Rogers’ title-track in a quartet style with guest Mike Bentley performing the bass lines on this second single release. Laura is out front on “Stormy Waters,” the 1941 Henry Donohue version (not to be confused with a Jimmy Martin song by the same name).
“In The Sweet By And By” is arranged smoothly with a long instrumental lead-in and one closing vocal chorus. Becky Buller’s “New Life” gets the quartet treatment with guest Ron Stewart on guitar (as well as on several other tracks). Alan’s “He’s Right There” is a nice closing to the recording and includes Laura’s spouse, Tony Watt, on guitar. This is a wonderful gospel recording for your collection and one you’ll play often. Highly recommended. (Morning Glory Music, 1177 Alum Ridge Rd. NW, Willis, VA 24380, www.morning-glory-music.com.)BW