This fine band is as strong as ever. Edgy and driving like a fully-loaded locomotive, they bowl down everything in their path. Dara and Tony Wray form the nucleoli with strong support from singing fiddler Kent Todd. Michael Gregory on bass and Cody Looper on banjo round out this powerful band. The strong songwriting from the Wrays stands up better under repeated listening than some of the material from other writers included on this project.
Opening with an absolute killer version of Peter Rowan’s “Moonshiner,” they sail into an original, “One Bad Day.” Dara’s vocal is uncharacteristically off on “Had To Be Crippled,” but the trio on this number is a wonder to hear. They take the old standard “East Virginia Blues” on their terms, moody and slow, and it works well. Other standout cuts include Tom T. Hall’s “I Didn’t See It Coming,” their title-cut original “Pray For Rain,” Pete Goble’s “I’d Like To Be A Train,” and the old classic “All I Ever Loved Was You.” Kent Todd takes the lead on “Born To Be With You” where the trio shines and the driving pace is relentless. The very next cut is a smolderingly slow “He’s In Control.” This band doesn’t hear bluegrass like other bands so they don’t do it exactly like other bands. This second project is as good as the first if not better. This is don’t miss bluegrass for fans of the real thing. (Pinecastle Records, 5000 Old Buncombe Rd., Ste. 27-242, Greenville, SC 29617, www.pinecastlemusic.com.)RCB