Carolina Road is the Great Amalgamation. Born of country roots and mountain music, they cross genre lines as if they drew them, bringing touches of gospel, bluegrass, country and the like to the fold. In this day of rejuvenated old time music, they should be superstars if bluegrass has any. Instead, they work in relative obscurity outside of the summer bluegrass festivals and outdoor gatherings. Perhaps if they modernized their sound... but truth be told, that would be a tragedy for there is no alt in bluegrass. Not in real bluegrass. Ask Seldom Scene or Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver or any of the handful of bands who devote themselves to the genre. For them and for Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road there can be no alt. It just isn't in them.
What is in them is a sense of a world slowly disappearing and yet still alive in which family, faith and values take precedence over legalities and politics. In which music—the right music—can heal. In which right and wrong are more common sense than fodder for litigation. You hear it throughout "Carolina Road", be the songs ancient or recent. There is that common thread and it is crucial.
The musical style varies, for sure, but within the band's own perameters. There is the overwhelming and calm sound of melody and spot-on harmonies of Can't You Hear the Mountains Calling, a downright beautiful call from home; the Doyle Lawson-like "Jesus Said Go" and "When You're Looking Up" in their bluegrass gospel glory; the return to the glory days of bluegrass with Don Reno's Maybe You Will Change Your Mind; and the Tom T. and Dixie Hall-penned country tribute to Carolina and the title track, Carolina Road, which shows that the master is still the master when it comes to great country songwriting. The rest fall between in varying degrees and all are worth hearing and more, right down to the vocal breakdown of Lorraine Jordan's Carolina Hurricane.
Vocally, Carolina Road more than acquit themselves. Jerry Butler could not be a better country vocalist, Josh Goforth has that old-timey edge and all four who sing blend voices exquisitely. Add the first-rate musicianship and you have, not astonishingly, a first-rate band.
Summertime is bluegrass time, my friends, and Carolina Road is all over those festivals and outdoor gatherings mentioned earlier. I would suggest a quick search to see if they are playing anywhere in your area. If their live performance is anywhere near that of the album, and it's pretty safe to say that it is, you won't want to miss these guys. They don't come to pick and grin. They come to play.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Website design by David N. Pyles