As opposed to the Common Strings CD concurrently released by Rural Rhythms (here)—a spectacularly good collection of originals, standards, and traditionals—Look to the Light is all original, written or co-written by Rick Lang, and, where the Common Strings disc is outrageously good bluegrass, this release falls much more squarely in a Michael Martin Murphy zone of cowboy and country musics, much more a lazy afternoon's delectation than a barnstorm, smooth, golden, and thoughtful.
Interestingly, Lang neither plays nor sings here (though he's indeed a singer who enigmatically decided to bow out of his own CD, letting the assemblage of A-1 players and vocalists shine), but he sure knows how to pen a tune. In fact, the longer I listen to this collection, the more I hear a bit of the Rick Roberts / Firefall essence as well as Murphey, a tad of Glen Campbell as well. There's indeed bluegrass in I've Been Redeemed and elsewhere, and I have to smile a bit when I listen to the lyrics in Bad News the Devil, co-written with one of Lang's favorites, Pete Goble. In that cut, the listener can almost hear a verse or two about kicking Satan's scarlet rear end…but not quite. Lang takes a more mannered approach; leave the cussing' to Charlie Daniels.
Of course the religious are going to be quite enamored of this selection of 14 well polished tunes, but those simply interested in roots musics are going to likewise fall under its sway, regardless of belief systems or lack of them, as this disc measures up to everything the Rural Rhythms label has issued, a cornucopia of great playing and singing, and a synergy that lifts the heart and spirit, as all good art can't help but do.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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