Door Way

Door Way

5.0 1
by Ron Block
     
 
His Union Station mates Jerry Douglas and Dan Tyminski may be better known, but Ron Block levels the playing field with his second solo album, an assertive exploration of his Christian faith that is more adventurous than his impressive 2001 debut, Faraway Land. Keeping the faith against daunting odds is the theme of "Above the Line

Overview

His Union Station mates Jerry Douglas and Dan Tyminski may be better known, but Ron Block levels the playing field with his second solo album, an assertive exploration of his Christian faith that is more adventurous than his impressive 2001 debut, Faraway Land. Keeping the faith against daunting odds is the theme of "Above the Line," a song that surges forward on the strength of a jittery rhythm arrangement featuring pounding drums and -- arising from the midst of frenetically attacked acoustic instruments -- a searing, wailing electric guitar solo. "Love's Living Through Me When I Do," a treatise on learning to embrace a higher power's love and guidance, percolates along with an easy, shuffling grace, with evocative interjections from wah-wah guitar and Viktor Krauss on Wurlitzer. Backed throughout by his Union Station compadres as well as stalwarts on the order of bassist Barry Bales and mandolin maestro Adam Steffey, Block mostly stays close to the sound and style he's helped Alison Krauss fashion over the years. The paradox of the Crucifixion -- eternal life springing from Christ's death on the cross -- is beautifully explored in a tender acoustic pop-folk ballad, "Things Aren't Always What They Seem"; the larger meaning of tests of faith is the theme of the atmospheric title track, which features Alison cooing velvety harmonies behind Block's sensitive reading. Purists will be reassured by "Be Assured," a toe-tapping bluegrass gospel workout propelled by a scintillating dialogue between Block's banjo, Steffey's mandolin, and Stuart Duncan's lively fiddle. Making every word and every lick count, Ron Block has fashioned a most compelling testimony here.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Rick Anderson
Ron Block is best known to bluegrass lovers as the banjo player with Union Station, Alison Krauss' backing band. But he's also an excellent singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and on his second solo album he expands his stylistic parameters to very winning effect. DoorWay is a gospel album, but with a difference: instead of the relatively uncomplicated songs of praise and spiritual victory that typify both the bluegrass and Southern gospel genres, Block chronicles actual struggles of faith and faithfulness on this album. The varied moods of that struggle are reflected in his arrangements, which veer from swinging midtempo bluegrass on "Along the Way" and "Be Assured" to the darker, moodier sound of "Flame" and "Love's Living Through Me When I Do" -- an almost rockish song that features drums, electric piano, and effects-laden electric guitar. Clearly, this is not an album for rock-ribbed bluegrass purists (though few would expect it to be, given the stylistic departures of his recent recordings with Krauss). And because Block deals here with issues of doubt and temptation rather than simply celebrating spiritual certainty, it also may be one that gives pause to some members of the gospel music audience. But it's hard to imagine that anyone with a relatively open mind in musical terms and an appreciation for the real challenges and conflicts inherent in the process of choosing a life of faith will be able to listen to DoorWay and remain unmoved. Very highly recommended.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/19/2007
Label:
Rounder / Umgd
UPC:
0011661058729
catalogNumber:
610587
Rank:
162785

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ron Block   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Jerry Douglas   Dobro,Lap Steel Guitar
Alison Krauss   Viola,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Barry Bales   Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
Sidney Cox   Background Vocals,Tenor (Vocal),Vocal Harmony
Suzanne Cox   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle
Shannon Forrest   Drums
Viktor Krauss   Bass,Bass Guitar,Wurlitzer
Lisa Roberts   Vocal Harmony
Adam Steffey   Mandolin
Dan Tyminski   Acoustic Guitar,Baritone (Vocal),Vocal Harmony
Homer Forbes   Bass (Vocal),Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Andy Hubbard   Percussion,Drums
Lori Forbes Slate   Vocal Harmony
Lori Forbes Slate   Background Vocals
Shannon Forbes   Drums
Lisa Forbes Roberts   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Ron Block   Composer,Producer,overdub engineer,Audio Production,Art Conception
Julie Lee   Composer
Justin Gerard   Illustrations
George MacDonald   Author

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Door Way 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Playing Time – 40:28 -- It’s been over six years since all-around musician Ron Block released his debut solo album, “Faraway Land.” Besides focusing on family, the talented guy’s been so busy clocking road miles with Alison Krauss & Union Station that doing another solo project was down a ways on his priority list. Like on “Faraway Land,” his compelling self-penned songs on “DoorWay” are arranged with all-star casting, dynamics, and varied tempos. His big musical vision taps inspiration and gains strength from various genres. Dan Tyminski, Stuart Duncan, Jerry Douglas, Alison Krauss are back again to lend their able support. Others in the lineup include Barry Bales, Adam Steffey, Viktor Krauss, Suzanne Cox, Sidney Cox, Andy Hubbard, and the Forbes Family. The cornerstone of Block’s music is his thoughtful, intimate and personal lyrics. He’s said that his songs come quickly and easily or else they sound contrived. Most make reference to his faith-based beliefs, and others offer new perspectives on his updated take on the world and where to find direction and guidance. Ron proclaims that Jesus Christ is the center of his being and answer to his needs. As a gospel songwriter, Ron says, “my first order of business is making sure I am abiding in Christ - meaning that I am resting in him, knowing he lives in me, and is living through me to others.” He understands that he can comfort others with the comfort he’s received from God. Alison Krauss once said, “Ron has had the ability to change lives with his words.” What more could a songwriter hope for! A new website with lyrics and commentary for DoorWay is in the works and should be up and running soon. “DoorWay” is also a musical treat for the senses because Block explores images, textures, and colors that are both bright and sedate. With calmness and composure, intimate singer/songwriter settings typify “The Kind of Love,” “The Blackness of the Need,” “Secret of the Woods,” and “Someone.” There’s the intense soulful loveliness and devout tone of “Things Aren’t Always As They Seem.” Uplifting bluegrass gospel rousers include “Along the Way” and “Be Assured.” Smooth and evocative, “Love’s Living Through Me When I Do” is folk-pop with a dreamy delivery. The title cut, “DoorWay,” provides a beautifully reflective moment at the middle of the set. Like the rest of the conceptual album, Ron wants us to think about whether we’ll keep on stumbling through the desert or whether we’ll make the leap of faith and see with God’s vision. “I See Thee Nevermore” is a sweetly wistful instrumental. Block shakes things up with his gritty alt-country groove on “Above the Line.” “Flame” takes us on a journey into his Effortland. “I know the flame of the burning tree / is the flame that burns in the deep of me / The love of the Father.” Sturdy and self-confident, Ron Block carefully cultivates his music with a strong personal belief in its depth and meaning. “DoorWay” shows that his inner fire burns with the conviction of his soul. Block has discovered what he stands for in life and what he has to do with his music. As a result, the master’s songs exhibit radiance, truth and power. The message of inner reliance on Christ is fundamental to what Ron Block is doing. He plans to continue expanding these ideas through music and books. "Joe Ross"