LaTRESA & THE SIGNAL
Boon Dog Records
The third album from Nashville-based singer songwriter LaTresa Smith is a collection of bluegrass gospel music. Eleven of twelve cuts are originals from LaTresa, and the twelfth was co-written with band member Kyle Wood. In addition to Wood on mandolin (a former co-founder of the band Crucial Smith), LaTresa’s band includes music director Randy Smith on bass and Markus Stadler (originally from Munich, Germany) on banjo and resonator guitar. Stadler engineered the album at his studio in Madison, Tenn., and the entire band produced.
The song arrangements are impressive, with a strong list of musical guests including Roland White, Ronnie McCoury, Tim O’Brien, Billy Droze, Dale Ann Bradley, Steve Gulley, Pat Flynn, Rob Ickes, Andy Leftwich, Charlie Cushman, Christian Sedelmeyer, and Christian Davis. Two tracks are already receiving airplay—the compelling “Bright Star” featuring Droze and Flynn on guitars, and the title-track with McCoury on mandolin and Ickes on resonator guitar.
LaTresa is a “PK” (preacher’s kid), whose father, grandfather, brother, three uncles, two great-uncles, and four cousins were/are all preachers. Her dad was a missionary in India, and she herself has done mission work in Panama. All this to say, LaTresa knows her way around gospel songwriting. Scripture references that inspired each song are listed on the face of the CD. In addition to enjoying LaTresa and her band’s arrangements, the album will be a good resource for other artists and band leaders looking for new, original bluegrass gospel songs.
The font used for liner notes is difficult to decipher, but doesn’t affect the listening quality of the music. High points include “Lazarus,” “The Valley With My Lord,” “My Prayer,” “Would You Walk With Jesus,” and “Bright Star,” among others. Gospel fans will no doubt enjoy the depth of LaTresa’s songwriting.(www.latresa.com)NCW