MOUNTAIN FAITH

MOUNTAIN-FAITHMOUNTAIN FAITH
THAT WHICH MATTERS

Mountain Fever Record
MFR151016

Instrumental tunes don’t often appear on bluegrass gospel recordings. When they do, it’s generally an instrumental version of a known gospel standard. “How Great Thou Art” comes to mind. Here, however, the instrumental title tune is a composition from Mountain Faith’s mandolinist Corey Piatt. And it fits. The joyful upbeat tune flowing, rippling, and intricately arranged is well in keeping with the overall aim of the recording. It may not be a gospel song, just as “Been There Done That” and “Emily (It’s Love)” are not strict “gospel” songs, but it does, as those other songs do, underscore that a positive message, a joyful noise can be offered in many ways.

This is Mountain Faith’s second recording. The music here starts and finishes with a polished, airy sound built around the smooth and somewhat wistful lead vocals of Summer McMahan. There are times, such as on the “Wayfaring Stranger”-like song “Condemnation” and the slightly funky, slightly modal “Run To Him,” when she and the band give it a bit of sharp emotion. You can add “Absent From The Body,” an uptempo more traditional bluegrass vocal sung by guitarist Luke Dotson, to that list, as well. Mostly, though, the softer side dominates.

That works quite well with the triumphant recovery of “Been There Done That” and the highly contemporary feel of “Emily (It’s Love),” which offers a bit of extra studio production, an ever-evolving arrangement, and pop rhythms. Both are good catchy songs that lift the spirit. So is the rapid energy and momentum of “Let My Life Make A Difference” and, in many ways, vocally and instrumentally the album as a whole. (Mountain Fever Records, 1177 Alum Ridge Rd. NW, Willis, VA 24380, www.mountainfever.com.)BW

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