Soldier of the Cross

Soldier of the Cross

by Ricky Skaggs
     
 

When bluegrass's prodigal son turns to the rich vein of southern gospel material, the result is a bristling, heartfelt declaration of his faith, complete with expert picking and high lonesome harmonies. Skaggs is well aware that stringband music and southern gospel have always been brothers under the skin. This collection of sacred songs follows in the footsteps of… See more details below

Overview

When bluegrass's prodigal son turns to the rich vein of southern gospel material, the result is a bristling, heartfelt declaration of his faith, complete with expert picking and high lonesome harmonies. Skaggs is well aware that stringband music and southern gospel have always been brothers under the skin. This collection of sacred songs follows in the footsteps of musical forefathers from community church song leaders to bossmen Bill Monroe and Roy Acuff. After an opening blast from a ram's horn (evoking the struggles of the 16th-century Knights of Malta to whom the album is dedicated), Skaggs and his Kentucky Thunder roll into the Rowan Brothers' "Soldier of the Cross." The slow-burn acoustic groove and call-and-response vocals highlight the message of Christians' struggle in a secular world. Skaggs then travels through old favorites from Monroe ("A Voice from on High'), Flatt and Scruggs ("Gone Home"), and the Stanley Brothers ("Jacob's Vision"), as well as several new classics. SOLDIER OF THE CROSS is a beautiful album that testifies not only to the Christian life but to the continuing vibrancy of the southern gospel tradition. Karl Hagstrom Miller

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael B. Smith
Ricky Skaggs continues to embody the very spirit of the late Bill Monroe on his latest release, a 14-song collection of gospel favorites, delivered with all the bluegrass precision you have come to expect from the multi-talented Skaggs. From the sounding of a ram's horn at the album's outset, perhaps as a spiritual call to arms, the CD delivers a moving set of tunes, beginning with the title track, "Soldier of the Cross," a Lorin Rowan composition, and moving into Bill Monroe's own "A Voice From on High." Ralph Stanley's "The Darkest Hour" is a special treat, and marks the second time Skaggs has recorded this particular tune. He played and sang backup for Emmylou Harris' version of the song in 1978, but his version shines brightly in and of itself. One of the true classics here is "Gone Home," the old Bill Carlisle tune made famous in the 1950s by Flatt & Scruggs. Anyone who grew up in the South is bound to have heard at least half a dozen versions of this one, but none more pristine that the version included here. Also outstanding is the somber "Seven Hillsides," an absolutely powerful lyric that tells the story of a life from a preacher's perspective, and "Are You Afraid to Die," which includes an actual audio clip from one of Billy Graham's crusades. Closing out the CD is an a cappella rendition of the traditional "Lead Me to the Rock." Skaggs' soaring tenor voice sends chills up the spine with this faith-inspired vocal, and it is the perfect end-cap for an outstanding bluegrass album, as well as an inspirational gospel recording, all rolled into one.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/28/2001
Label:
Skaggs Family
UPC:
0669890500122
catalogNumber:
905001
Rank:
11402

Tracks

  1. Battle Cry (Ram's Horn)  - Ricky Skaggs
  2. Soldier of the Cross  - Ricky Skaggs
  3. A Voice from on High  - Ricky Skaggs
  4. The Darkest Hour  - Ricky Skaggs
  5. Gone Home  - Ricky Skaggs
  6. The Joshua Generation  - Ricky Skaggs
  7. Waiting at the Gate  - Ricky Skaggs
  8. Seven Hillsides  - Ricky Skaggs
  9. Are You Afraid to Die?  - Ricky Skaggs
  10. Remember the Cross  - Ricky Skaggs
  11. Were You There?  - Ricky Skaggs
  12. Jacob's Vision  - Ricky Skaggs
  13. I'm Ready to Go  - Ricky Skaggs
  14. Lead Me to the Rock  - Ricky Skaggs

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ricky Skaggs   Primary Artist,Guitar,Mandolin,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,shofar,Archguitar
Jerry Douglas   Slide Guitar
Ralph Stanley   Tenor (Vocal),Vocal Harmony
Lisa Bevill   Vocals,Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle
Bobby Hicks   Fiddle,Bass (Vocal)
Kenny Malone   Percussion
Marty McCall   Vocals,Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Jim Mills   Banjo,Guitar,Baritone (Vocal)
George Shuffler   Bass (Vocal)
Geoff Thurman   Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Vocal Harmony
Darrin Vincent   Baritone (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal),Vocal Harmony
Mark Fain   Bass,Bass Guitar
Paul Brewster   Tenor (Vocal),Vocal Harmony,High Tenor Vocal
Bryan Sutton   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Clay Hess   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Billy Graham   Spoken Word
Jerry Douglas-Wiessenborn   Slide Guitar
Bonnie King   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Ricky Skaggs   Producer,Audio Production
Don Cobb   Mastering
Brent King   Engineer
Denny Purcell   Mastering
Alan Shulman   Engineer
Stan Strickland   Art Direction
Crystal Dunn   Art Direction

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