The Farm Hands continue down the same furrow with their latest recording. What has worked in the past, works here. Their previous releases have all been characterized by direct, unflashy but highly appropriate instrumental work, and by warm lead vocals and very smooth harmonies. Song choices have been about basic, down-to-earth values with a generous lean toward religious and religion-inspired beliefs. That’s exactly what you’ll find with their new recording.
There has been a change at the banjo slot, Don Hill replacing Bennie Bolling, but the positive aim of creating vibrant, uplifting music has not changed at all. The value of the simple country life is extolled first in Daryl Mosely’s upbeat opener “Rural Route,” with its friendly neighbors, fried chicken, and sweet tea. Later, that theme comes up again with “His Old Fiddle,” reviewing a life well-lived. Both are very good. “Colors” is about respect for country and the military, while “They Don’t Make ’Em Like My Daddy Anymore” is self explanatory. At first glance, Gram Parsons’ “Sin City” might seem a little out of place, but its message of caution about falling for the snares of the world, be it the music business or anything else, makes for a good fit.
Scattered among those “good values” songs are five gospel songs that offer thoughts on various subjects: never being truly alone (“The Four Of Us”); the world as seen from the viewpoint of a Bible (“The Bible In The Drawer”); and the rewards to come (“I’m Going Home”). All solid, all uplifting—as is this recording in general. (Pinecastle Records, 2514 River Rd., Ste. 105, Piedmont, SC 29673, www.pinecastlemusic.com.)BW