On his website, David Parmley, founder of the Bluegrass Cardinals and co-founder of Continental Divide, explains that his latest release (his first since returning to the bluegrass circuit last year after a lengthy hiatus) is a direct response to the overwhelming reception his fans gave to the songs on his 2008 CD, Church House Hymns (Volume I).
When he resumed touring in late 2010, Parmley also reconfigured Continental Divide. The band now includes long-time collaborator and fellow Bluegrass Cardinals veteran Randy Graham (mandolin) and fellow Continental Divide veteran Steve Day (fiddle), along with Josh Hymer on banjo and guitar and Matt Wallace on bass.
Recording in his new home studio in Monticello, Ky., Parmley shaped these gifted players into a formidable bluegrass gospel ensemble. The band infuses these traditional gospel favorites with high-spirited contemporary bluegrass pickin’ and singin’ that re-energizes them without detracting from their reverence.
A couple of standouts in this rock-solid collection of 12 gospel chestnuts are “Power In The Blood” and “The Heavenly Light,” which are both jaunty celebrations and affirmations of faith. Equally moving is the lovely, soulful reprise of “Because He Lives.” An added sweet touch here is the cover photo of the Parnell Church of God in Wayne County, Kentucky, which was founded in 1931 by Parmley’s great-grandfather and is still a vital house of worship today. (David Parmley, P.O. Box 668, Monticello, KY 42633, www.davidparmleyandcontinentaldivide.net.) BA