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Album Review

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.

Customer Reviews

Great country music

Great stuff

Biography

Genre: Country

Larry Gatlin is best-known for his '80s hits with the Gatlin Brothers, but prior to forming and leading that family trio, he enjoyed a successful solo career with occasional support from his brothers. Gatlin was born in Seminole, TX, in 1948 and raised on country gospel music. He and his brothers, Steve and Rudy, often sang together in church, as well as on local radio and television every once in a while; they also recorded an album for the small gospel label Sword & Shield. After high school, Gatlin...
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Pilgrimage, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers
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