Eight years into their career—and their marriage—North Carolinians Darin and Brooke Aldridge have established themselves as rising stars on the bluegrass gospel scene. Their new album, as its title suggests, seems destined to speed their ascendance. Faster And Farther showcases not just Brooke’s remarkable vocal prowess, but also Darin’s all-around polish and confidence as a producer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist—talents that he honed during his long stint with The Country Gentlemen.
Though the Aldridges co-produced the album, it’s also clearly a collaboration with two other powerhouse talents: John Cowan and Pat Flynn, both alumni of the mythical New Grass Revival. Cowan, a world class singer in his own right, co-wrote two of the standout songs here (“This River” and “Cumberland Plateau”) and contributes vocals and electric bass on these and additional tracks. Flynn wrote and plays guitar on two songs (“Kingdom Come,” the tour de force opening cut, and the irresistible “Lila”) and plays on additional tracks.
The song choices here are unimpeachable, and the contributions of two remarkable writers, in particular, are vividly heard. Carl Jackson penned the heartfelt ships-passing-in-the-night ballad “Eugene And Diane” and co-wrote (with James Rushing) “Highway Of Heartache.” Lisa Shaffer also contributed a pair of gems: “Mountains In Mississippi” (co-written with Dennis Duff and Jenee Fleenor) and “Still Falling” (co-written with Dennis Duff).
The linchpin throughout is, of course, Brooke’s exquisite voice. She’s simply one of the best and has never sounded more powerful, poised, and persuasive than she does here. (Mountain Home Music, P.O. Box 829, Arden, NC 28704, www.mountainhomemusiccompany.com.) BA