Be ye revelationist, believer, occasional churchpew occupant, atheist, or hellbound soul, you just have to hear this CD, a collection of pitch-perfect religious songs delivered by a duo, Vanessa and Darron Nichols, and backed by a gallery of pickers and rhythm masters who set up and maintain a heavenly Appalachian landscape of green woods, blue skies, chirping birds, and mellowly aging rustic milieus lost to our metropolitan frenzy. Dolly Parton will be beaming when she hears Vanessa's sweetly tart, high-pitched, extremely well trained voice, and Willie Nelson will have ample reason to pause and sit a spell, misty eyed for the old days.
Should you ever wonder why the Doobie Brothers and other country-oriented bands can't help but slip a religious song or two into their repertoire, it's because they heard the antecedents that Vanessa and Darron are perfectly revivifying here. Spotless musicianship, gorgeous harmony vocals, stirring sentiments, and more than a little reflection upon life on Earth will force even the most casual listener to perk their ears up. The release is of course on the Rural Rhythm label—well, where else could so fine a disc appear?—and embodies everything that imprint artistically stands for.
Nothin' but the Blood may well be the best starting point. Kicking off in a multi-stringed interlocking vamp complete with a strikingly inserted drone lick or two, everyone comes together for a blueprint-precise energetic git-down brimming over with heart and exuberance. There are, as you may well hope, several ballads, soft gentle songs to cool the brow after all the fuss and high spirits, but the lion's share of this marvelous disc lies in vividly energetic high spirits and spiritual introspection. All in all, there's little irony in the fact that such a heavenly duo would produce such a helluva disc, and if that seems a trifle inapposite—well, just give a listen and then join me on this here cloud, brother, smiling seraphically.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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