Bluegrass and old-time music are distinct genres, though old-time is clearly one of the key progenitors of bluegrass. However, there is a gray area between them, which is precisely where this CD resides. There are songs such as “Rocky Island,” which are common in the bluegrass repertory, but there is also a strong old-time feel in the music, too. The band’s personnel includes David Sheppard on guitar and vocals, Jackson Cunningham on mandolin, guitar, and vocals, Stu Geisbert on bass, and Ivy Sheppard on fiddle, banjo, and vocals. Special guest Donnie Scott plays resonator guitar on the title-cut. About half of the 12 tracks are gospel songs.
The CD opens with “Home To Stay,” an original gospel number by Sheppard. They go on to “Bright Crystal Sea,” Charlie Monroe’s “I’m Coming Back But I Don’t Know When,” and Jesse Winchester’s “Brand New Tennessee Waltz.” “S-A-V-E-D” is from the Bolick Brothers. Don Stover wrote “Things In Life.” There are two Carter Family songs, “Just A Few More Days” and “Sunshine In The Shadows.” Ivy Sheppard brings her hard-driving clawhammer banjo from her work with the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers. She also fiddles on “I’m Coming Back,” the old-time instrumental “Sally Ann,” “Just A Few More Days,” and another instrumental, “I Saw A Man At The Close Of Day.” Jackson Cunningham’s mandolin playing is strongly influenced by Bill Monroe. This is a recording for those who like driving rhythm with well-blended vocals. (Patuxent Music, P.O. Box 572, Rockville, MD 20848, www.pxrec.com.)SAG