"Places I’ve Been" by Gold Heart

Gold Heart
Places I’ve Been
Mountain Fever Records
3½ stars (out of 5)

By Larry Stephens

The Gold sisters sing good harmony and lead. (There’s no track–by–track listing of lead singers, so I’m unable to describe each one of them in turn.) Tori Gold plays mandolin in this family band, Shelby plays fiddle, and Jocey plays guitar. Completing the band is dad, Trent, playing bass and younger brother Kai on banjo, but the marketing focus seems to be on the sister trio. Ron Stewart produced the CD, and, say the liner notes,  “also [lent] his banjo talents to the project.” The other credits are sparse but Josh Shilling sang harmony vocals on “O.K. Corral,” a ballad about the famous Earp brothers’ gunfight, with some excellent banjo and Dobro work from Rob Ickes.

Ickes plays a soulful lead on the title song, a piece which underlines the harmony singing of the sisters. “Master of the Sea” is an upbeat gospel number that features a fiddle break by sister Shelby and mandolin by sister Tori, with the banjo carrying the song. “I’ve Got a Burden” is another interesting gospel number.

Family members, primarily the sisters, composed all the tracks and they are promising songwriters. “Burden” is done a cappella and there’s nothing like no instruments to show any weaknesses in the singing. The lead seems to be near the limits of her range, and at the very end there’s a precarious note or two. There are also some awkward start–and–stop phrases in the arrangement. They sing on-key, which points toward a big future upside, especially since so many young singers seem to not have that basic talent.

Gold Heart