You'd think it wouldn't be possible. Blue Highway manages to find a way to raise the bar each time they record a new album. Their previous release, Still Climbing Mountains was a hit with both critics and fans. Outside work by band members Shawn Lane and Rob Ickes led some to wonder if the group had peaked.
As the saying goes, rumors of the group's demise were unfounded. Wondrous Love should not only find its place among the lists of this year's contemporary bluegrass albums, it should be one of the top gospel albums as well. It tops both of my lists thus far.
They've made a nice mix of classic gospel tunes like This World Is Not My Home with original songs that echo the spiritual sentiments of the band members. They've pulled songs from the works of the Carter Family (Live On Down The Line) and Bill Monroe (Wicked Path of Sin).
While these are classic songs today, the original work is equally solid. Wayne Taylor's Seven Sundays in a Row tells the tale of roughneck Billy Sparks, who straightens out his life after falling for Mary Johnson, showing the power of faith in changing the direction of a person's life. Joined in harmony vocals by Sonya Isaacs, it is a song for which the repeat button on the CD player was made.
The album closes with an instrumental arrangement of The Old Rugged Cross featuring the fine work of Ickes on Dobro. Breathtaking.
Here's the finest and newest release from one of bluegrass music's premiere bands. It is both musically and spiritually inspiring.
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