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Help Is On the Way

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Album Review

It's been a while since Doyle Lawson's band underwent one of its trademarked complete overhauls, but the most recent one has yielded a group of jaw-dropping ability. The standard Quicksilver features — creamy, seamless vocal harmonies coupled with virtuosic instrumental chops — are all still there, as is the near-total focus on gospel and spiritual songs. But this incarnation of the band is perhaps the creamiest sounding and most obviously virtuosic of all, and the addition of a hot-fingered and tasteful dobro player adds a new dimension to Lawson's traditional sound. Everything you can expect from this album is encapsulated in the opening track, "I Know, I Know" — a joyfully romping celebration of revival-style salvation. That formula is the one that really seems to get this version of the group going: "One of the These Days" and "Press on O Pilgrim, There Is Joy Ahead" are both intoxicating and invigorating examples of what Quicksilver does best, and always has, regardless of lineup. When they turn to other gospel subgenres, the results are hardly any less impressive: "Land of the Dying" sidesteps the usual tear-jerker temptations implicit in the "gather around mother's deathbed" genre in favor of an almost funky rhythm and an almost stern tone of admonition from the dying mother, which makes for a refreshingly bracing message. And if the guys sound just a little too excited about the fate sinners will suffer when the rapture comes on "When the Hand of God Comes Down" ("It'll be too late to pray"), well, that's an occupational hazard that comes with the gospel genre, and perhaps with Great Day politics and religion of every stripe. At its best, this is music of both attractive humility and unbelievable tunefulness, and the group is at its best during the majority of this excellent album.


Genre: Country

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, fronted by the longtime member of progressive bluegrass pioneers the Country Gentlemen, is a bluegrass ensemble that has made both gospel and secular recordings since its inception in 1979. (Though, as Lawson is a devout Christian, the numbers tip in favor of the gospel.) The group has had numerous members move through its ranks over the years, the one constant being Lawson, who jokingly refers to his group as a "farm team" for professional bluegrass. Doyle Lawson was...
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Help Is On the Way, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
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