GOLD HEART, PLACES I’VE BEEN
Mountain Fever Records
The young women of Gold Heart, Jocey (Jocelyn), Tori, and Shelby Gold, are sounding better than ever on their new release, which celebrates their tenth year as a band. Mountain Heart’s Josh Shilling, reso-guitar master Rob Ickes, and album producer Ron Stewart guest, but the shining star of this project is the blues-tinged vocal trio and gifted songwriting of the Gold sisters. All three ladies are singing and writing in their own unique voices, and their instrumental work on mandolin, fiddle, and lead guitar is pristine. Dad, Trent Gold, also sounds great on the bass.
“Ain’t That Crazy” is a whimsical song about imagination written by Jocey. “OK Corral” is a historical ballad of Shelby’s about the famous gunfight in Tombstone, Ariz. Her lead vocals are reminiscent of a young Sarah McLachlan on the title-cut, a modern bluegrass tribute to mindfulness; the joy and gratefulness inspired by living in the moment. Out of all of the places I’ll go, here’s one I’ll never forget… she sings, underpinned by Ickes on Weissenborn guitar, strings, and mandolin arpeggios. It’s quite beautiful.
Jocey contributes the train song “Steam Engine” with a love story riding between the rails. Shelby’s song “Raleigh” deals with heartbreak inspired by geographical distance. Jocey wrote the next five songs: the hard-hitting, lonesome “Truth Is,” the a cappella gospel “I’ve Got A Burden,” “Late December” in which snow falls on the ground and the singer’s heart as she sits by her love’s grave, “Back With Me,” and “Summertime,” about idyllic family life in the country. The first song contains the memorable line: I’ve done all I can to fall in love with you / But the truth is, you ain’t meant for me to love. (So, there!)
The album wraps up with two more songs from Shelby. “You Make Me Smile” is a 3/4 time, acoustic anthem in which a couple in love for many years belts out: You make me smile / You make me sing / You make me mean every word that I say / You make me, me. The barn-burning “Master Of The Sea” ends the set with enough old-time gospel and maritime imagery to make Doyle Lawson smile. Highly recommended for fans who love sibling harmony and for those who like to check out interesting new songwriters in the bluegrass world. Here’s to the next ten years ladies! (Mountain Fever Records, 1177 Alum Ridge Rd. NW, Willis, VA 24380, www.mountainfever.com.)NC