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Blue Highway - Wondrous Love

Wondrous Love

Blue Highway

11661-0524-2

Rounder Records
One Camp Street
Cambridge, MA 02140

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Allen Price
(al@squirrelheads.com)

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.

Tracks

  • Wondrous Love (traditional)
  • Traveling Preacher (Gerald L. Ellenburg)
  • Wicked Path of Sin (Bill Monroe)
  • I'm Asking You (Shawn Lane)
  • Live On Down the Line (A.P Carter)
  • Chasing After the Wind (Tim Stafford)
  • Seven Sundays in a Row (Wayne Taylor)
  • This World Is Not My Home (Jimmy Martin- Paul Williams)
  • Ahead of the Storm (Shawn Lane)
  • Old Brush Arbors (Gordon Ardis- Darrell Edwards)
  • The Ground is Level at the Foot of the Cross (Tim Stafford)
  • It Won't Be Long (Shawn Lane - Gerald L. Ellenburg)
  • The Old Rugged Cross (traditional)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2004, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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