The Farm Hands latest is a delight. To be blunt, nothing vocally or instrumentally is going to stop you in your tracks with its virtuosity. What this set of 12 captivating and well-rendered songs will do is entertain, make you listen, make you think, and lift you up. What more do you want?
I’m on the fence about whether to label this a gospel recording. Songs such as “I Saw The Light” and the uptempo “This Time’s For The Lord,” there can be no doubt that they’re straight gospel. You could also include “Mansion On Main,” a wonderful story song in which a man descends to living in his car, but helps by preaching. And you could include Leon Payne’s inspiring and beautiful heartfelt plea for love and understanding, “The Selfishness Of Man.”
Several others skirt the gospel edge, being more a mixture of gospel and positive message song. Bassist Daryl Mosely’s “I Would” falls in that category. While not overtly religious, it’s morality message of doing right, even when no one sees what you’re up to, certainly follows religious sentiments. Right behind that comes “It’ll Getcha Where You’re Goin’” and its wisdom imparted by a father to son that includes giving his son a bible. Again, not overtly religious, but the message is implicit. “Homefolks” and “Medals For Mothers,” one about yearning for home, the other about honoring mom, are straight positive message songs. So, too, is the album’s title song with its ode to the benefits of hard work. They could appear on a secular bluegrass recording and be taken as such. Is this then a gospel recording? I leave that to the listener. Just listen and enjoy. (Pinecastle Records, 5000 Old Buncombe Rd., Ste. 27-242, Greenville, SC 29617, www.pinecastlemusic.com.)BW