Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers
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There comes a time in every person's life when he or she sits back to take stock; Pilgrimage represents that moment for Larry Gatlin. One of the pioneers of country-pop in the '70s, Gatlin returns to those roots here, delivering an album that ironically, when compared to his shiny-sounding late-aughts Nashville musical descendants, sounds positively down-home. Woven throughout the record are short spoken word interludes in which Gatlin reflects upon his musical journey and his creative and personal relationships with elder legends such as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Roger Miller. The disc's title is a reference to Gatlin's 1973 debut album, The Pilgrim, and the new album shares that record's matching of traditional, finely crafted country songwriting with smooth vocal harmonies and pop-style instrumental textures reminiscent of country-rockers such as the Eagles and Poco. On "Say Nashville — Whadda Ya Say?," Gatlin recognizes the changing times and explicitly asks fans for acceptance, while "Sweet Becky Walker" is a fairly straightforward, and perhaps more vibrant-sounding, recutting of the Texas native's first hit single, bringing his career full circle. Perhaps the most poignant moment, however, is the song "Johnny Cash Is Dead (And His House Burned Down)," which at once pays tribute to the master while encouraging young bucks to aspire to Cash's legacy. Throughout, Gatlin and his brothers sound re-energized and confident, and as a result deliver one of the most consistent, engaging, and soulful albums of their career.
Great country music