Morning Glory Music
The Churchmen are celebrating 30 years as a gospel bluegrass band. This project is an excellent way to mark that milestone and bring their album count to ten. The band has formed a solid foundation with recent additions of Jay Adams on guitar and vocals and Greg Jones on mandolin and vocals. The last original member, Keith Clark on bass and vocals, has held the band together from the beginning and he’s joined by Carroll Arn on banjo and vocals. Guest musicians include George Mason on fiddle and Aaron Ramsey on guitar on “Don’t Look Back.”
The unity of the band shows well on the entire recording, with most of the songs providing inspiring messages of love and thankfulness. Band members wrote seven of the ten tracks, and the songs are uplifting and offer encouragement to listeners as they travel through life. Arn’s “I’d Like To Be Your Neighbor” opens the recording and is based on a true story. After spending time with a longtime friend at death’s door, their mutual desire to continue being neighbors on the other side of Jordan inspired the song. Arn also offers driving banjo and lead vocals on “A Mountain To Climb.” Adams wrote a thoughtful song in “What God Had Done For You.” He also had a hand in composing “Here I Am” with James Doncseez and Jody King. Adams also partners with bandmate Greg Jones on two more songs, “Don’t Look Back” and “Heaven Is Waiting,” both performed with conviction.
“Branches” comes from Thomm Jutz, Milan Miller, and Cindy Baucom, all familiar to bluegrass. Jones turns in a fine cover of the Hank Williams, Sr., number “House Of Gold.” “Wings of Love” from Ronnie Bowman and Amanda Martin closes the CD with a fitting reminder of how God reaches out to us. This is a collection of songs you’ll play many times without feeling you’ve heard the music before. Hats off to The Churchmen for continuing to make bluegrass gospel music and taking their message on the road. (Morning Glory Music, 1177 Alum Ridge Rd. NW, Willis, VA 24380, www.morning-glory-music.com.)BW