CROWE, LAWSON & WILLIAMS, “Standing Tall And Tough,” Mountain Home. 12 tracks.
There’s something comforting in the title of the new album by bluegrass legends J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson and Paul Williams that’s comforting.
Williams is 79, Crowe is about to turn 77 and Lawson is 70.
In most musical genres, they’d have been retired decades ago.
But in bluegrass, they’re, well, still standing tall and tough.
The three graduates of the Jimmy Martin school of music — all were members of his Sunny Mountain Boys at one time or another — released “Old Friends Get Together,” a collection of gospel tunes, in 2010.
And now, they’re back with an album of secular songs — with a couple of gospel numbers thrown in.
The harmonies are still chilling.
In an era when most acoustic albums seem to be bluegrassish, this one is pure no-mistake-about-it bluegrass.
Crowe was with Martin’s band from 1956 to 1960; Williams from 1958 to 1963; and Lawson from 1963 to 1966.
And the Martin influence runs deep in this album with three songs co-written by Martin and Williams — “My Walking Shoes,” “Little Angel in Heaven” and “Pretending I Don’t Care.”
Williams also wrote or co-wrote “Blue Memories” and the title track.
He also performs his classic version of “Hills of Roane County,” an 1884 murder ballad.
There are a couple of Louvin Brothers gospel songs — “Do You Live What You Preach” and “Insured Beyond The Grave.”
And a couple of old country songs — “Once A Day,” a No. 1 hit for Connie Smith in 1964 and “Fraulein,” a No. 1 song for Bobby Helms in 1957.
Great album by three bluegrass legends.
Can’t find it in stores? Try crossroadsmusic.com.