Billy Blue Records
Doyle Lawson recently announced that he will be retiring from touring at the end of 2022, but it’s clear with his new album out that he plans on exiting with a bang. Roundtable is a collection of a dozen songs that can simply be described as what you’d expect from Lawson and his band Quicksilver, now on the Billy Blue Records label.
It’s quite a shared effort from the legendary bandleader who will have almost a half-century in the business when he stops rolling the wheels on the bus next year. He’s talked about how this collaboration played into the title. “While driving home from the studio one evening, I was listening to what we had done up to that point, and it occurred to me that it was like a ‘roundtable’ recording. The idea [for the title] grew from the different lead vocals heard throughout the project.” As a matter of fact, Lawson doesn’t take lead vocals on any of the cuts, passing duties to Jerry Cole (bass, guitar, percussion), Ben James (guitar), Eli Johnston (banjo, guitar) and Matt Flake (fiddle). Lawson adds tenor and baritone throughout.
There’s definitely an old-time vibe that the group is known for and longtime fans won’t find a departure from the characteristic sound played out over more than 40 albums over the years. The word “lonesome” appears in three song titles, although the high lonesome sound may peak with “In Those Days.” Writing credits on the album go to Jerry Salley, Glen Duncan, Donna Ulisse, Steve Goodman and others. Among the best tracks are “I’ll Take Lonesome Every Time,” “Would You Carry Me,” and “Lazy Whippoorwill.”
Of course, no Lawson project would be complete without a powerful gospel number and that comes through in the last song, the traditional “A Little More Faith in Jesus,” done a capella. The good news is that Lawson specifically said he’s retiring from touring, not necessarily producing music, so it may just be that he’s heading into a new era. Fans can certainly hope that’s the case and this effort doesn’t disappoint.