Bluegrass veteran Steve Gulley’s first gospel outing is one fine album indeed. This powerful and soulful 14-cut collection features evocative renditions of classics such as “House Of Gold,” “God’s Not Dead,” and “Stormy Waters,” along with a trio of heartfelt Gulley originals: “Scars In His Hands,” “The Man I Ought To Be,” and “What Would You Have Me Do?”
Gulley, a long-time member of Doyle Lawson’s Quicksilver and a founding member of Mountain Heart and Grasstowne, brings all his experience, savvy, and accomplished musicianship to bear on Family, Friends & Fellowship. Along with singing lead and harmonies, playing guitar and bass, and writing several songs, he also produced the album.
While we’re at it, we might as well add the title “crowd manager” to Gulley’s illustrious list of credentials. There are so many musical guests on here that it takes nearly an entire page in the liner notes to list them. Collaborators include Gulley’s mom, dad, and wife, along with Doyle Lawson, Adam Steffey, Alan Bibey, and other distinguished guests too numerous to mention. But far from being top-heavy with contributors, these songs are impeccably performed and thrillingly soulful. All in all, they’re enough to bring tears to the eyes of believers and non-believers alike. (Rural Rhythm, P.O. Box 750, Mt. Juliet, TN 37121, www.ruralrhythm.com.)BA