Friends for a Lifetime
Claire Lynch(Rounder CD 0335)
A Review for The Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
I am not a card carrying gospel fan but I have been playing this CD a lot lately. It's truly a fine musical production of bluegrass gospel sung by a voice that sounds like a perfect union of Emmylou Harris, Iris Dement, and Alison Krauss. Claire Lynch's CD, FRIENDS FOR A LIFETIME, is an easy listen and an often comforting array of bluegrass gospel tunes. She describes herself as a 'progressive bluegrass singer,' but this CD contains roots and traditional bluegrass music.
A harmonic gathering of celestial musicians including Jerry Douglas, Roy Huskey, Jr., David Grier, Sam Bush, Larry Lynch, Alison Brown and Glen Duncan accompany Claire in an uplifting collage of music. She not only blesses us with her rich vocals, but also wrote four and adapted two of the thirteen offerings on this CD.
The opening track is Lead Me On, a warm reminder of God's light as a path from darkness. A path that leads us to Who Do You Know?, by Morris Hicks, is an upbeat look at Elijah as the answer to his prayers. In a mellower tone, Hershey Reeves's Your Presence is My Favorite Gift is beautifully sung and sparely accompanied for an almost soothing effect. The effect carries you into the story of a good samaritan, Go and Do the Same, co-written by Claire with Pamela Brown Hayes. Paul and Peter Walked, by Christ Stuart, is a duet with Alan O'Bryant of classic bluegrass done to perfection. There is a Fountain," is a Civil War tune adapted by Claire, of a serious prayer from a soldier who needs his sins washed away. Another Chris Stuart song, God Spoke His Name, is a banjo & mandolin pickin' harmony fest. In Friends for a Lifetime, she sings to her son about the hopes for his future as a man. "My Name is Judas," written by Harley Campbell, is a traditional bluegrass harmony about Judas' betrayal. He Leadeth Me is another adaptation of a Civil War gospel tune inspired by the 23rd Psalm. Somewhere Above is a catchy gospel song about the savior within you likened to the one above. Mickey Cates wrote Between the Two of Them, a song of lasting love through good and bad times, a lovely melody with uncluttered accompaniment. After the Storm, penned by Pam Daley, closes this warm, enriching CD with the warning of the darkness that lies around us, and the effort it takes to stay in the light.
Each listen to FRIENDS FOR A LIFETIME is reinforcement that maybe I ought to be listening to more gospel music, or at least more of Claire Lynch's offerings in the genre.
Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz (firstname.lastname@example.org)