THE KING JAMES BOYS
This new album from the band named after the famous translation in The Bible will be of interest to bluegrass gospel fans and those looking for new material from the genre. The group honed their skills playing at their home church every weekend. They’re a tight traditional bluegrass band with a well-balanced rhythm section and fine instrumental leads. The mandolin notes pop, the banjo rolls crackle, the guitar lends an occasional bluesy riff, the Dobro slides and sings, and the bass does what a bluegrass bass is supposed to do.
The heart of this group’s vocal sound is the father-son harmony of Randy Spencer on guitar and Cole Spencer on bass. Jeff Dover provides harmony, and Milom Williams II also sings while playing lead guitar or mandolin. Curtis Lewis on banjo, Glen Crain on Dobro, and Ben Rochester on fiddle round out the band.
“The Master’s Standing By” is an uptempo song about God’s welcome presence in all of life’s trials and in the face of death. Fans should recognize Ron Block’s “He’s Holding On To Me,” a modern day bluegrass gospel standard.
“Was Nots” and “Signs Of The Times” are both about the second coming of Christ and the sin, shame, and sorrow that believers will be more than happy to leave behind in this life. “Superwater” is a retelling of the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. “Time To Go Home” uses end-of-the-harvest farm imagery to describe the importance of passing along the gospel message to those we can before The Lord returns and it’s time to go home. In “That’s Love,” which has a slower, more contemporary feel, a little boy asks his mother the age-old question, “What is love?”
“Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled” is a four-part gospel song about Jesus being there to guide the believer on his way, with a melody that may remind listeners of the Stanley Brothers’ “Jordan.” (A quick YouTube detour to hear the Stanleys, and then Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, and Johnny Cash sing the latter song is appropriate at this point.) “He’ll See You Through” is an uptempo number that urges listeners to not give up, using images of darkness and storms verses light and shelter to tell the story of the Christian journey. “He Arose” is a new resurrection song. The set ends with “Children Of God,” an a cappella quartet that sums up the message of the album:Faith is my anchor. I’llnever be lost. (Pinecastle Records, 2514 River Rd., Ste. 105, Piedmont, SC 29673, www.pinecastlemusic.com.)NCW