Frank Ray first formed Cedar Hill way back in 1967 and has fronted the band ever since. Through those years and many personnel changes, he has kept the band true to their Ozarks roots and their traditional sound. He has also been a major contributor to the band’s song catalog, and this new all-gospel project offers another great selection of tunes written or co-written by Frank. With Frank on mandolin, the current Cedar Hill membership includes Jim Bunch (banjo), Pete Brown (fiddle), Patti LaFleur (bass), Eddie Faris (guitar), and Dan Stokely (vocals).
Frank bases his writings on influences and teachings from his family’s cultural heritage inherited while growing up in a deeply religious environment. Strong songs of faith, encouragement, love, and conviction frame many of the songs. Selections include “A Home Made For Me,” “Journey Of Faith,” “For Me It’s Hello,” and the title song, along with songs about the hard side of life, such as “Pain Of A Guilty Man,” “Flood Plain Of Despair,” “Who’s Gonna Pray For Me,” and “Nails And Thorns” (co-written with Thayne Bradford).
The songs are presented with lots of interplay between Ray’s strong mandolin chops and Brown’s fiddle, backed by tight banjo from Bunch and Faris’s solid guitar. Stokely sings the lead vocals, along with harmonies from Ray, Bunch, and LaFleur. There’s lots of good gospel here for any listener’s collection. (www.cedarhillbluegrass.com)BF