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Posted October 1, 2010
Unlike Joe Ross, I carry no musical credentials, as I'm just a guy the loves the Lord and bluegrass music. When I heard this album it just knocked me out, for the lyric content, for the incredible harmonies, and the excellent, sometimes sparse, instrumentals. Russell Moore's tenor voice just grabs me! The more I play this, which is kinda' "over and over" as I work at my computer in the evening, the more I appreciate the musical and spiritual uplift it creates.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
Could make a rainbow appear on even the darkest, stormy day.
“Beyond the Shadows,” now being reissued by Sugar Hill Records, is Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver’s third gospel release (from 1986), and it celebrates a few different highlights in the band’s career. Firstly, it celebrates the band’s existence for a quarter century since their formation in 1979. The band signed with the Sugar Hill Records label the following year, and this reissue marks an impressive and prolific long-term relationship that has resulted in 24 albums in as many years for this fine group that features well-blended vocal harmonies and arrangements. Let’s recall the early history of Lawson’s band. In 1979, Lawson put Quicksilver together with banjo player Terry Baucom, guitarist Jimmy Haley, and electric bass player Lou Reid. The band released the albums Quicksilver, Rock My Soul, Quicksilver Rides Again, Heavenly Treasures, and Once and for Always. After rededicating his life to Jesus Christ in 1985, Lawson recorded the all-gospel “Beyond the Shadows” with new players Scott Vestal (banjo), Curtis Vestal (electric bass), and Russell Moore (guitar). It was momentous occasion that indicated the band’s ability to continue to set a high standard for bluegrass gospel music. His gospel (and secular) albums consistently best sellers, Lawson’s recipe for success has always been to present an excellent variety of material that appeals to the young and the old. As an example of this approach, let’s analyze the last five songs on “Beyond the Shadows.” Moving effortlessly from an acapella “Hiding From The Storm Outside” to the call-and-response (with just guitar and mandolin accompaniment) of “The Wings of Faith” (by Don Reno) demonstrates their skill. A slow triple-timed “The Long, Long Journey” (by Jimmie Davis) adds Mike Auldridge’s pedal steel and provides us with an inspirational message. The band then picks up the tempo with the a cappella “We’ll Sing in Glory,” before closing the album with a bright, fully accompanied rendition of “My Lord Delivered Me.” I miss hearing some fiddle in the mix, but this gospel project doesn’t particularly suffer from its absence. Also, the electric bass has been equalized to approximate the sound of an acoustic upright, but at times it tends to have a bit much sustain. All in all, the instrumental accompaniment, when used, does not detract from the vocals and the songs’ messages. The album’s title cut comes from the pen of one of the early queens of country musician, Martha Carson., who was a big draw at the Renfro Valley Barn Dance in Kentucky. Lawson and band add guest Mike Auldridge’s steel on this cut, and it’s a song that epitomized the type of great old-time gospel gold that Lawson searches out and arranges for his band. “Babylon’s Falling,” presented without instruments, precedes an uptempo “Every Time I Feel the Spirit” that is accompanied with only the guitar playing a vamped barre chords. Another occasion for this reissued album to celebrate is Doyle Lawson’s 60th birthday in 2004. Happy Birthday, Doyle! He developed a love for quartet gospel singing as a child. His mother, father, and sister sang in various trios and quartets. Preserving his family traditions has always been one of Lawson’s goals. “Beyond the Shadows” is an album that presents gorgeous vocal work, both from the lead and harmony singers. All should take note of this band’s ability to seamlessly blend their voices, as well as to arrange their songs without any or with just enough instrumentation to make them special and memorable. “Beyond the Shadows” could make a rainbow appear on even the darkest, stormy day. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.