It’s time for another edition of Quick Hits, where I cover CDs that have come to my attention recently, but for which I haven’t had time to write a full review. This is the 2012 bluegrass edition of Quick Hits! Enjoy, and don’t be afraid to give your thoughts on these recordings if you have them!
The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent (Dailey & Vincent)
The bluegrass duo of Daily & Vincent have a firm spot at the top of their genre. This is their first major all-gospel release, and includes erstwhile southern gospel singer Christian Davis at bass. Vocally and musically, they are in very fine form, as you would expect from musicians of this caliber. Most of the best cuts are the new uptempo, straight-up bluegrass numbers, but they also expertly cover a few gospel quartet classics, and mix it up with a couple of outstanding acoustic ballads. Dailey & Vincent have yet to disappoint me with any of their music, and this is no exception. You will not find better singing anywhere in the bluegrass world today. If you like bluegrass gospel even a little bit, you will enjoy this recording very much.
Best tracks: Cross Over to the Other Side of Jordan, Living in the Kingdom of God, Cast Aside, Peace That Covers All the Pain, Come Back to Me, The Fourth Man
Might want to skip: Welcome Home
Sing Me a Song About Jesus (Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver)
The latest release from my all-time favorite bluegrass group, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, is to me a “comeback” recording. Lawson has found the longest period of consistency in his vocal lineup in several years. This is a big reason why the quality of Sing Me a Song About Jesus surpasses that of their most recent all-gospel effort, 2010′s Light on My Feet, Ready to Fly. This band lineup is another in a long line of talented, cohesive units in Quicksilver’s history. The song quality still isn’t quite to the level DL&Q delivered several years ago, but it’s a step in the right direction. I still prefer the more pure bluegrass and convention-style burners (like “Never Shall Run Dry” and the title track) than the country ballads (like radio single “I Saw Him Walk Out of the Sky”). I hope in the future Lawson will find more of those uptempo numbers.
Best tracks: Never Shall Run Dry, Sing Me a Song About Jesus, God Can, Going on Home
Might want to skip: Jack of All Trades, The Greatest Creator (not a fan of either lyric)
The debut of the Harper Family for Crossroads’ Pisgah Ridge label displays an impressive level of musical and vocal talent. I agree with Daniel Mount that the family displays a level of expertise with the instruments that isn’t always there for similar family bluegrass groups at such a young age. There are some hot tracks on this recording. Vocally, there is the tight blend you would expect from a family group, but the star of the show is definitely 12-year old Hannah, who is featured on two of the album’s strongest songs: the sweet “The Greater God’s Love Will Shine” and the exhilarating cover of the Martins’ “Count Your Blessings” (which I actually prefer to the original). I know this is a personal thing for me, but again, I generally prefer most of the uptempo songs to the acoustic ballads. I look forward to hearing more from the Harper Family after this excellent debut.
Best tracks: The Greater God’s Love Will Shine, Count Your Blessings, Salt and Light, Well Done
Might want to skip: Treasures Unseen
He Included Me (Primitive Quartet)
No bluegrass group today has a longer-lasting legacy in the southern gospel world than the Primitive Quartet. That legacy continues in 2012 with another solid recording. They owe much to the Inspirations for gaining their foothold in southern gospel many years ago, and, like the Inspirations, the Primitives are a group from which you know what to expect on every album. Simple, down-to-earth lyrics and music, with the mid-tempo songs being the strongest, are their calling card, and He Included Me is no exception. If you like the Primitive Quartet already, you will like this album. If you don’t like them, you won’t like it. If you don’t know if you like them or not, you owe it to yourself to see why they have gained such a strong and loyal following down through the years.
Best tracks: I Know That I Know, Thank You for Saving Me, Moving Higher
Might want to skip: Ye Must Be Born Again (not big on recitations)