It’s worth remembering that Paul Williams is a genuinely important figure in bluegrass. This East Tennessee native was an early member of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, one of the first groups to successfully perform and record the music inspired by Bill Monroe. Later, Williams was the pivotal mandolin player and tenor harmony singer for Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys, lending his impressive talents to such hits as “Ocean Of Diamonds,” “My Walking Shoes Don’t Fit Me Any More,” and “You Don’t Know My Mind.”
Significantly, Williams was also a standout on Martin’s classic gospel recordings “Stormy Waters,” “Prayer Bells Of Heaven,” and “I Like To Hear Them Preach It.” After a time away from performing, Williams returned to bluegrass and focused on sacred music. The results have been wonderful, as witness his latest Rebel Records recording.
Time has not diminished Williams’ sterling voice or his adroit touch on the mandolin. He remains a consummate artist who will appeal to both gospel and secular listeners. The title track “Satisfied” and the enjoyable “Let Me Dream On” present his talents to best advantage. His songwriting abilities shine through on “I’ll Keep Holding On” and “We’ll Go Home Together (On The Cloud).” There is also pleasing variety here with the outstanding a cappella tracks “Give Me Just A Little More Time” and “A Dying Mother’s Prayer.”
Paul Williams receives wonderful support, both vocally and instrumentally, from the Victory Trio—Dan Moneyhun (guitar and occasional lead vocals), Adam Winstead (guitar and baritone vocals), Jerry Keys (banjo and bass vocals)—plus Susie Keyes (bass) and guest fiddler Hunter Berry. Moneyhun composed the rousing “He Will Call (And I Will Answer)” and he does an especially fine job as lead singer on “He Means The World To Me,” with Williams coming in on soaring bridge vocals. It’s one of the outstanding arrangements on the album. Satisfied is truly satisfying. (Rebel Records, P.O. Box 7405, Charlottesville, VA 22906, www.rebelrecords.com.) RDS