Zion Mountain Music
No Number

Is it the songs or is it the performances/performers that make this 15-song gospel CD from David Peterson such a joyful, powerful experience? Is it having material drawn from legendary songwriters such as the Louvins, James Rowe, Lewis E. Jones, Charles A. Tindley, Ira Stamphill, or James D. Vaughn, such gospel classics as “There Is Power In The Blood,” “Love Lifted Me,” “Just A Closer Walk With Thee,” “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” and “Mansion Over The Hilltop?” Or is it shoulders back, heart on the sleeve vocals of David Peterson backed with the tenor of Larry Marrs and, occasionally, the baritone of Stuart Duncan? Or is it the playing of banjoist Charlie Cushman, fiddler Duncan and mandolinists David Grisman and Mike Compton or the buoyant bounce rhythm of bassist Dennis Crouch and archtop guitarist Richard Bennett or the decidedly old-style sound or the warts-and-all use of a single mic for the vocals?

It’s probably all of this and more. A near perfect mix all around. You can’t help but be lifted by Ira and Charlie Louvin’s “I’ll Never Go Back” or the bluesy and forceful “Trials, Troubles And Tribulations” or the power of “Old Time Power.” Such songs grip tight right from the first note and hold fast to the last, as do the sentimental expression of “Mother Prays Loud In Her Sleep” and “If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again.” It truly was a golden age of gospel songwriting. You also can’t help but be pulled along by David Peterson’s full-out performance. His crisp mid-range, with hints of country crooners of the 1950s and Charlie Waller as well, is full of emotion and spirit and his ability to shift from a soft, heartfelt “Just A Closer…” to the full-throated attack of “There Is Power…” is impressive. But then, so is this album in full. (David Peterson, P.O. Box 68197, Nashville, TN 37206, www.1946band.com.)BW

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