Daryl Mosley’s bluegrass credentials are impeccable. He did a long stretch as lead singer and bassist in The New Tradition and another stint with The Osborne Brothers. As a songwriter, he’s won a slew of awards, penned at least a half-dozen number ones and had his originals covered by everyone from The Grascals and Bobby Osborne to Lynn Anderson and The Booth Brothers.
On his second solo album, Mosley has once again brought his powers into sharp focus. He wrote or cowrote all 12 of these exquisitely crafted songs that cut right to the heart. “Transistor Radio,” the opener, yanks us straight back to those long-gone times when portable radios finally got small enough to carry around in our pockets, enabling us discover the wide, wide universe of popular music styles and vintages.
“Hillbilly Dust” is a profound elegy to the sacred bonds between a humble dirt farmer of yesteryear, God and the land he tills. It includes the poignant line: “He never walked on pavement until he was 21 years old.” There’s lots of nostalgia here of both the gentle and the painful sort. “The Last Of His Kind” expresses a longing for bygone times when people took a lot more pride in the fruits of their labor and a mere handshake carried more weight than a 40-plus-page contract does today. “I Can’t Go Home Anymore” laments the desolate and merciless toll that passing time sometimes takes on us.
On the brighter side, there’s a couple of rousing gospel odes: “He’s With Me (Till I’m With Him)” and “Mama’s Bible.” “You Are The Reason” is a beautiful celebration of love and commitment.
Getting back to desolation, another real stunner is “The Waverly Train Disaster,” a harrowing ballad about a true-to-life calamity that occurred in Mosley’s hometown back in 1978. That’s when a Nashville & Louisville Freight Train derailed. The subsequent explosion of a tanker car full of propane took 16 lives and changed the small town forever.