This is the Bluegrass Gospel Projects 6th album. The BGP is 6 musicians, including mandolin player Taylor Amerding from one of my longtime favourite bluegrass bands, the late and thoroughly lamented Northern Lights. BGP was founded by fiddler/engineer/singer Gene White and features Colby Crehan on vocals, Kirk Lord on upright bass, Paul Miller on guitar/vocals and Steve Light on banjo, resophonic guitar and vocals.
The band name is somewhat of a misnomer in that not all of their music is gospel, nor is all of it strictly bluegrass; what it is, is actually delightful.Colby Crehan has a clear and supple voice and she sings lead on 6 of the 12 tracks and is a strong presence in the band’s exact harmonies on the rest. Kirk Lord plays a strong and steady, and on Oh, Mary Don’t You Weep and I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free, very funky bass.
I don’t know which of the lads takes leads on the other songs, but all the singing is top-notch, tight and clean as bluegrass should be, yet expressive, as is all the playing.
The only song which didn’t work for me was by a songwriter I really admire; Bruce Cockburn’s One Day I Walk – which didn’t appeal to me either musically or lyrically. Other than a vaguely New Age-ish cover, which doesn’t reflect the strong and moving music on the album, Shine, indeed the whole Bluegrass Gospel Project is a real keeper.