Billy Blue Records BBR-1051
One of the great things about bluegrass music is the authenticity and ability to perform live what has been captured in the studio. Live in Prague exemplifies this point. The recording quality is excellent. You can tell it’s a live recording, but the quality of sound is almost as pure as a studio. If you’ve seen a Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver show, this album contains all of the elements you’ve experienced before—current songs associated with the current band personnel, favorite songs from previous versions of the band, and a capella gospel.
This album includes three songs not previously recorded by DL&Q—“Living Like There’s No Tomorrow,” “Leaving On Her Mind,” and “Shenandoah Breakdown.” The lead and harmony singing on this album is phenomenal and demonstrates why Doyle’s band has been voted IBMA’s Vocal Group Of The Year eight times. Three highlights stand out on this album. First is guitarist Jake Vanover’s rendering of “Living Like There’s No Tomorrow.” Doyle Lawson has identified, hired, and groomed many great lead vocalists that have gone on to great things in bluegrass (Lou Reid, Russell Moore, and Jamie Dailey to name a few), and Vanover appears ready to join that august group. Second, bassist Jerry Cole delivers a similarly superb job with the high lead for “On The Sea Of Life,” very reminiscent of the original as performed by Lou Reid. Finally, the gospel quartet singing on “I’m Going To Heaven” is as stout as any quartet Lawson has previously featured.
The vocals are supported well instrumentally by Joe Dean (banjo), Stephen Burwell (fiddle), Josh Swift (resonator guitar), and Lawson (mandolin). Over the roughly 40 years of DL&Q, Lawson has continuously brought in new material, arranged, and participated in the top-notch vocals for which his band is renowned and recorded many songs that have become favorites of bluegrass fans. This album is no exception. Highly recommended! (Billy Blue Records, 124 Shivel Dr., Hendersonville, TN 37075 www.billybluerecords.com.)TK