Posted tagged ‘doyle lawson’

LAWSON & WILLIAMS, “Chapter 3,” Mountain Home. 12 tracks.

March 27, 2017


In 2010, Doyle Lawson, Paul Williams and J.D. Crowe got together to pay tribute to their old boss, Jimmy Martin, with an album of gospel songs from Martin’s repertorie.

They called it, “Old Friends Get Together.”

It was so successful that they returned in 2014 with “Standing Tall and Tough.”

Since then, Crowe has retired, but Lawson and Williams have created “Chapter 3” — their third musical outing together.

It’s a collection of traditional country, bluegrass and bluegrass gospel songs.

There’s the Delmore Brothers’ “I’m Sorry I Caused You To Cry,” the Bailes Brothers‘ “I Want To Be Loved, But Only By You” and the Louvin Brothers‘ “I Feel Better Now.”

Williams wrote “Abigail,” “I’m Getting Over You” and “What Am I  Gonna Do With This Broken Heart.”

From the country side, there’s Dolly Parton‘s “Til Death Do Us Part,” Justin Tubb‘s “Big Fool of the Year” and Buddy Starcher‘s “I’ll Still Write Your Name in the Sand.”

And from the gospel side, there’s “I’ll Make It Through,” “There’s Absolutely Nothing  My God Can’t Do” and “I Feel Better Now.”

These days, it’s sometimes hard to decide if what you’re listening to is really bluegrass.

You won’t have any problem with this album.

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CROWE, LAWSON & WILLIAMS, “Standing Tall And Tough,” Mountain Home. 12 tracks.

August 11, 2014

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.

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ROMP grows beyond bluegrass

February 18, 2013

When it began in 2004, the International Bluegrass Music Museum’s River of Music Party was simply called ROMP. And it featured bands ranging from traditional to progressive bluegrass.

But over the past nine years, the event has evolved into ROMP: Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival.

“Rather than being a strictly bluegrass festival, it is a festival held strictly in support of the bluegrass museum,” Gabrielle Gray, the museum’s executive director, said last week when she announced this year’s lineup.

Country music legend Merle Haggard will headline the 10th annual festival June 27-29 at Yellow Creek Park near Owenboro. He released a bluegrass album in 2007 and will be doing a mix of country and bluegrass, Gray said.

Past headliners have include Steve Martin, Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill.

Haggard will be joined by two bluegrass legends who are enshrined in the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Fame — Del McCoury and Doyle Lawson.Sam Bush, “the father of newgrass,” is also scheduled to appear.

The David Grisman Sextet, The SteelDrivers, Della Mae, G2, Town Mountain, Professors of Bluegrass, Goodwill, Spinney Brothers, Kings Highway, Arnold Shultz Revival and the Kentucky BlueGrass AllStars would all be at home at any bluegrass festival.

But recent years have seen ROMP widening its horizons and bringing in bands from the alternative side, bands that fuse several genres and some that have only a nodding relationship with the music of Bill Monroe.

That list includes the Punch Brothers, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Leftover Salmon, The Deadly Gentlemen, Scythian, Lost Bayou Ramblers, David Wax Museum, Ten String Symphony, Renegade String Band and The Giving Tree Band.

Those acts range from old-time to Cajun to jazz to country to Mexican to rock — with a lot of stops in between.

But they all come with a strong fan base of mostly young people who follow them to festivals.

And that’s caused attendance at ROMP to grow from 7,000 in 2010 to 15,000 in 2011 to 21,000 last year — despite triple-digit temperatures on all three days last year.

Gray is expecting another surge this year since ROMP was named “event of the year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association last fall.

Three-day passes went on sale for $90 for 12 hours on Valentine’s Day and 549 were sold to people in 23 states.

The price is now $100 through March 15 when they’ll go up again.

Gray said the festival doesn’t usually hit the 500 mark on ticket sales until May. Most are sold in the final month before the festival begins — or at the gate.

They can be ordered at, which has all the details on the 2013 festival.

JOE MULLINS & THE RADIO RAMBLERS, “Hymns From The Hills,” Rebel. 14 tracks

January 24, 2011

It took Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers four years to release their first album, but only a few months to add their second.

Mullins grew up in bluegrass. His father, Paul “Moon” Mullins, played fiddle with the Stanley Brothers and was a member of The Boys From Indiana before fronting the Traditional Grass.

Joe Mullins came of age performing with the Traditional Grass during the 1980s and early 1990s. But he left the band in 1995 to devote more time to a radio career, buying four stations in Ohio to create a small country music network.

Over the past decade and a half, Mullins performed occasionally with Longview.

But in 2006, he formed The Radio Ramblers — Adam McIntosh, guitar; Evan McGregor, fiddle; Tim Kidd, bass; and Mike Terry, mandolin — and returned to the bluegrass circuit.

“Rambler’s Call,” their debut album, was a strong traditional bluegrass album with solid picking and great harmonies.

“Hymns From The Hills” is just as strong.

Mullins brings in some bluegrass legends to help out.

Larry Sparks performs the traditional “Come On” and “That Little Old Country Church House” with the band.

Rhonda Vincent performs a duet with Mullins on “We Missed You In Church Last Sunday.”

Paul Williams sings lead on “Hold On To The Old Gospel Way,” a song he wrote.

Ralph Stanley and a children’s choir sing “Jesus Loves Me.”

Doyle Lawson sings lead on the Louvin Brothers’ “I’ll Never Go Back.”

And Williams and Vincent join in on “Sweet Hour of Prayer.”

But the seven songs that feature just Mullins and the band are just as strong.

One note for purists: There’s a piano on two tracks.

Good album by a good band.

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J.D. CROWE, DOYLE LAWSON, PAUL WILLIAMS, “Old Friends Get Together,” Mountain Home Music. 12 tracks

August 9, 2010

Three bluegrass legends who graduated from Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys finishing school have teamed up for a gospel album that’s well worth fans’ attention.

Banjo legend J.D. Crowe was with Martin from 1956 to 1960; Paul Williams, best known for his bluegrass-gospel work, was also part of Martin’s late 1950s lineup, working with him from 1958 to 1963; and Doyle Lawson, whose band Quicksilver has been one of the top groups in bluegrass for a quarter century, was there from 1963 to 1966.

This summer, the three released “Old Friends Get Together,” a collection of 12 gospel songs, including two co-written by Martin — “Voice of My Savior,” written with Raymond Long, and “Give Me Your Hand,” written with Williams.
But all 12 songs are from Martin’s repertoire.

The album was recorded near the end of Martin’s life in 2005 and he was able to come to the studio to listen to the tapes.

There are no real surprises here. Just three bluegrass legends singing bluegrass gospel the way it was meant to be. The harmonies are as powerful as ever.

Songs include “Prayer Bells of Heaven,” “The Little White Church,” “Pray The Clouds Away,” “This World Is Not My Home,” “Shake Hands With Mother Again” and “Who’ll Sing For Me.”

Musicians include Ben Isaacs, Cia Cherryholmes, Sonya Isaacs, Ron Stewart and Harry Stinson.

Bluegrass purists alert: Stinson plays snare drums on the album.

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U.S. SEN. ROBERT BYRD, “Mountain Fiddler,” County Records. 14 tracks.

July 19, 2010

When U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia died on June 28 at age 92, America lost the longest-serving senator in U.S. history (51 years). And bluegrass and old-time music lost their most powerful friend in the nation’s capitol.

Most Americans knew Byrd as one of the most powerful politicians in Washington. A man who brought home the pork every year to his native West Virginia.

But bluegrass and old-time music fans knew that Byrd was one of them. He had played fiddle for dances back home in West Virginia as a teenager and continued to play even at the peak of his political power.

Byrd also served on the advisory board for the International Bluegrass Music Museum in 1991.

In 1977, when he was 60 and majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Byrd was persuaded to make his first — and only — commercial recording.

Barry Poss, who would later founded Sugar Hill Records, produced the album, which was recorded in Byrd’s office with Doyle Lawson on guitar, James Bailey on banjo and Spider Gilliam on bass.

Now, County Records has re-released the album in CD format as a tribute to Byrd.

The album is a combination of bluegrass and old-time tunes.

Most are traditional tunes, but “Come Sundown She’ll Be Gone” was a 1970 country music hit written by Kris Kristofferson and sung by Bobby Bare.

Byrd sings on 11 tracks and talks about how he learned several of the songs.

He first heard “Old Joe Clark” at a molasses making in the 1920s.

He learned “Cumberland Gap” from men in the boarding house his foster mother ran.

He learned “Forked Deer” from the 78 rpm recordings of Clark Kessinger.

“Mountain Fiddler” is a nice slice of Americana for fans of bluegrass and old-time music as well as fans of the late senator.

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DOYLE LAWSON & QUICKSILVER, “Light On My Feet, Ready To Fly,” Horizon Records. 11 tracks.

April 12, 2010

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have been alternating secular and gospel albums in recent years.
And 2010 is gospel album time.

“Light On My Feet, Ready To Fly” follows 2008’s “Help Is On The Way” and 2006’s “He Lives In Me” as some of the best bluegrass gospel being recorded today.

Corey Hensley, the group’s guitar player, wrote two songs — the title cut and “The Hammer of Sin” — and sings lead on five.

Through the years, Quicksilver has been a finishing school for bluegrass musicians who have gone on to become stars in their own rights.

The band has been known for its strong harmony since it first hit the bluegrass circuit in 1979. And the current lineup — Lawson, Hensley, Jason Leek, Dale Perry, Josh Swift and Jason Barie — is no exception.

Two a capella numbers are included here — “My Lord’s Gonna Move This Wicked Race” and “Zion Medley (Ship of Zion, Is That The Old Ship of Zion).”

Seven tracks are uptempo numbers and “Zion” is the closest thing to a gospel standard.

“Light On My Feet” is the latest in a long line of strong albums by a great band.

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