Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Roads Well Traveled
Mountain Home Music Company
2 stars (out of 5)
By Aaron Keith Harris
If this CD had arrived in the mail with no cover or promo sheet, I would have had no inkling this is a Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver project until the sixth track, which features the unparalleled bandleader singing lead on “Dobro Joe,” a bouncy bluegrass tune that’s essentially an update, on a different instrument, of Jim & Jesse’s “Fiddlin’ Will,” which closes this 11-song, 37-minute effort. Those two cuts, along with the expertly picked “By the Waters of the Clinch,” a Lawson original mandolin instrumental, are indeed about all the Doyle you’ll get here.
The rest is, if I am reading the liner notes correctly, songs sung by Mike Rogers and Corey Hensley—I listened to this all the way through three times and can’t tell the difference—backed by a featureless mix of bluegrass, Southern gospel, and contemporary country arrangements.
The songs are standard Nashville, which is to say they contain lots of little details with which the listener is supposed to identify—such as graduating from Ohio state, enjoying the taste of tomatoes and cornbread, and pride in one’s ability to change a flat tire—but do not allow for any emotion to be conveyed or felt.
Special opprobrium must be heaped on “Say Hello to Heaven,” a lachrymose tale about a man prayerfully trying to forgive a drunk driver who killed a family member (or members, I can’t stand to go back and listen long enough to find out). There may be a songwriter alive who could make something worthwhile out of that scenario, but we know Lewis N. Hyatt is not that songwriter.
There may be some people who could enjoy this disk—it is smoothly executed with good harmony singing—but having one of the true greats, and great gentlemen, of American acoustic music spend his time and ours on something that bears so little of his genius is frustrating.