Doyle Lawson’s credentials and credibility in the bluegrass world go back half a century and more than 40 albums. It would take way, way more space than I have here to chronicle his innumerable milestones and accomplishments. On this generous 20-track collection, Lawson once again finds renewal in the deep fountain of his gospel roots, which run all the way back to his early childhood in Hancock County, Tenn., where his dad Leonard sang gospel in a local a cappella quartet.
Half these songs are rendered in exquisite a cappella style, while the other ten are served up with stalwart bluegrass instrumental backings. All 20 selections, whether old or new or with or without instrumentation, deliver stark, unflinching testimonials to faith’s redemptive power. Some songs, such as the traditional “Rejoicing All The Way” (done a cappella) and “Another Day” (one of several cuts written by Steve Watts) are straight-ahead celebrations of Divine promise. More complex story-songs, like “Best Friends” (penned by Tammy Jones Robinette) and “You Were Right” (Randy Swift) take more circuitous thematic routes to make similar declarations. All throughout, the vocals are stirring, impeccable, and delivered with a deep personal conviction that’s bound to stir souls. As Lawson himself humbly tells us in his liner notes: “I sincerely hope these songs will touch your hearts in a joyful way.” (Mountain Home, P.O. Box 829, Arden, NC 28704, www.mountainhomemusiccompany.com.)BA