Deeper Shade of Blue

This North Carolina-based powerhouse band, which marks its 20th anniversary with this impressive album, has just about everything going for it, including four talented lead singers, robust harmonies and a strong in-house supply of original material.  Deeper Shade of Blue also represents a delightful and valuable throwback to the formative mainstream bluegrass styles of the `60s and `70s, personified by bands like The Country Gentlemen.

The five bandmembers wrote or cowrote five of these 12 tracks. Their originals include gems such as the mournful “Blue Was Just A Color (Before I Met You),” the evocative “Radio Tears” (about how much easier it is to cry to sad songs on the radio than in front of the one who just gave you the heave-ho) and the philosophical and slightly fatalistic “Power In A Moment.” 

The band has also made some excellent and apt choices for covers. The four singers hit a home run with the new album’s first single, “Broken Lady,” a big country hit of yesteryear for Larry Gatlin, who also penned the song. The harmonies are spot-on.  There are also a pair of stalwart Larry Rice compositions (“If You Only Knew” and “Four Wheel Drive”) and a jaunty Wyatt Rice instrumental called “Jared’s Rag.”

The Deeper Shades turn in a particularly heartfelt and moving performance on Johnny Russell’s and Voni Morrison’s oft-recorded country standard, “Making Plans.”

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