Two masters of bluegrass bring their next installment of the music that helped make them legends. Doyle Lawson and Paul Williams present Chapter 3 from Mountain Home. It’s the style they first learned together as members of Jimmy Martin’s influential band years ago before labels were differentiating Country, Western and Bluegrass music and songs of heartbreak stood side by side with inspirational Gospel numbers
It’s classic Country and Gospel Music with the natural blend of unsurpassed brother style vocal harmonies. Songs of longing over lost love and of hope found by looking to the hereafter. Nearly all from the pen of a single writer, making them deeply personal, and each reminding us of what Country music, in terms of style, used to be.
The lead-off song is a vintage Dolly Parton number, “Til Death Do Us Part.” A cautionary message about vows of love. Next, comes Bluegrass with “I’ll Still Write Your Name in the Sand” and a banjo kick from guest, Joe Mullins, a man skilled in this classic style of the early form. It gives Williams the lead vocal duties and demonstrates that he is still in his prime at 83.
The album continues with selections handpicked by Doyle Lawson from his mental vault of curated rare gems he has always kept in mind for a special recording like this. Duet style vocal arrangements like in the gospel song “I Feel Better Now” and unique rhythmic phrasing heard in “Big Fool of the Year” give these heart-tuggers a treatment that makes evident they were chosen for emotional impact and because they are a natural fit for these two.
It also boasts three tracks written by Williams including the recently penned “What I’m I Gonna Do with This Broken Heart” which shows how naturally this classic style comes to him.
It takes a studio band that can capture the soul of the Classic Country intention and the players here do just that. Tim Surrett on bass, Josh Swift on resonator guitar and drums, Stephen Burwell on fiddle, David Johnson on pedal steel and the aforementioned Joe Mullins on banjo. Lawson and Williams command the two instruments they have mastered, guitar and mandolin respectively.
Chapter 3 is a continuation of a legacy series of recordings that began with Old Friends Get Together (2010) and was followed by Standing Tall and Tough (2014) which included Lawson, Williams, and now retired banjo legend J.D. Crowe. This new release pays tribute to the music that shaped the style as well as the careers of these men. It is this early style that gave form to so much of what today’s Bluegrass and Roots Country music is. Rest assured the story is not over, just beginning a new chapter.