With the possible exception of the slightly minor cast of the lost love tune “Joanie” and Kevin Prater’s own tragic romance original “You’re In Love With Another,” the offerings here, sad subject or no, have an upbeat, positive sound that make you feel like everything’s going to be alright. Some of that is the songs themselves. Some is the arrangements. Some is Prater’s voice and delivery.
Take “Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues,” for example. If you listen close, you can tell there’s trouble: Some gotta win, some gotta lose…Everybody’s gone away… Those are not exactly joyful lines. But there’s that melody, so tuneful, you’re completely diverted from the sadness. Or consider “Don’t It Make You Want To Go Home,” a minor hit for Joe South. Again, a somewhat down subject, the weariness of a wanderer, but again, a positive melody and an upbeat, uptempo, folk-tinged arrangement. Then there are “Borrowed Time & Rented Land” and “Walking Rails & Counting Ties” and “Willow Creek Dam.”
Throw in several positive message songs such as “Hold On” and “I Pray To The Lord Everyday” and the classic song of personal acceptance “The Way I Am,” along with mandolinist Prater’s soft, at times ethereal, high lead voice, a light, airy band sound provided by guitarist/vocalist Tom Timberlake, banjoist/vocalist Tyler Robertson and bassist/vocalist Danny Stiltner, and you have a solid recording. It’s not perfect. Sometimes, it’s a little uneven and a couple times back-to-back songs have a too similar beat and construction. But this is a good, uplifting recording. (www.thekevinpraterband.com)BW