By Larry Stephens
Rest assured, you can say “bluegrass gospel” and “Gospel Plowboys” and they fit like a hand in a glove. You may have heard IIIrd Tyme Out’s version of Bill Castle’s “The Dream” but the Plowboys don’t take a backseat with this cut. Their harmony is excellent and they are also apt musicians though the extent of those abilities aren’t tested here. A cappella singing tests the blend of voices and listening to their version of “It Is Well With My Soul” proves they are up to the test. David Brown hits his low notes without the growling of someone just trying to sing bass. His son, Andrew, plays upright bass and sings lead, baritone or low tenor as needed.
They aren’t plowing new ground with numbers like Dr. Ralph Stanley’s “Daniel Prayed” but put their own touch on the cuts. You’ll hear John Goodson’s banjo on this one and if the fiddle sounds familiar, it’s Ron Stewart, the hardest working session player in bluegrass. Another familiar song is the Gaithers’ “Because He Lives.” A song unfamiliar to me, though it’s a traditional number, is “Red River.” David Murph plays some nice mandolin lead on this one and, again, their harmony adds strength to the song. Another on my long list of songs to learn! Another on that list is Billy Fields’ “Welcome Home” with its description of arriving in heaven.
A line from Russell Easter’s “Forever On My Knees” summarizes a Christian’s perspective, even though few of us attain this goal: “And if I tried to thank Him for what He’s done for me, then I’d be forever on my knees.” Such good gospel music, such good singing and presentation. If you love gospel music then this should be on your shelf.