Sugar Hill Records, Inc.
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Don Rigsby is one great mandolin player, in addition to being one of the finest vocalists in bluegrass music today. He's played with JD Crowe and the New South, the Bluegrass Cardinals, and is currently one of the Lonesome River Band. He also plays with Longview, an all star group that has one of the finest bluegrass albums you'll ever hear. He recently sang backup on John Fogerty's BLUE MOON SWAMP. His voice has a traditional twang that underlies his Kentucky roots, and even when he gets into the upper register, it doesn't sound the least bit strained.
Considering all this, I was somewhat disappointed at first that Rigsby's first solo album would be all gospel. Mind you, I like gospel music a great deal, and have several gospel albums in my music collection. But I was hoping Rigsby's first album would be more of a straight bluegrass album.
Not to worry, as this is a great bluegrass album which just happens to be a collection of gospel music. Joined by a list of bluegrass luminaries too long to list, let me just give you a taste of the others: JD Crowe, Ralph Stanley, the late Roy Huskey, Jr., and Ricky Skaggs are just the beginning.
Crowe's banjo sets the pace on That Home Far Away, an uptempo number where Rigsby and some of his buddies strut their instrumental stuff between choruses of great vocal harmonies. Drifting Too Far From the Shore features fellow Lonesome River Band member Sammy Shelor on finger-picked guitar rather than his customary banjo. The final cut features an all-star group of backup vocalists, joining Rigsby, Skaggs, Otis L. Dillon and Dr. Stanley, as well as Don's preacher, Elder Jerry Brown. It's both inspiring and chilling at the same time.
A VISION is an album not to be missed by the true bluegrass aficionado. Oh yeah, it's a gospel album too.
Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz