Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout – A gospel Bluegrass compilation
A playful melody bounces around and leads us into a brooding baritone gospel harmony conducted by none other than Marty Raybon in “I See God,” one of twelve awesome bluegrass ballads and jams found on Billy Blue Records’ Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout. A gospel compilation penned by the great Rick Lang and produced by Jerry Salley, Gonna Sing, Gonna Shoutpresents us with a well-packaged treasure chest of folk, country and bluegrass gold, all of which is stylized around praising the Lord. Fiddles catch fire in songs like “Thinkin’ Outside the Box,” which features Dave Adkins, while guitars and crystal clear vocals compete for our attention in The Whites’ “Don’t Tune Him Out” and the Kenny and Amanda Smith song “They Were Fisherman.” No matter what sort of twang gets you revved up, you’re certain to find it in this elaborately produced disc.
In many ways, “There is a Light,” “There Will Be Singing,” the title track and “I See God” are saying the same message, only through the differing perspectives of Adkins, The Cox Family, Claire Lynch and Marty Raybon, respectively. There’s no song here that doesn’t come to us stocked with bittersweet lyricism and sharp musical dexterity, and in the elegantly defined mix we get to experience these artists’ yearning, elation and elegiac contemplations from an up close and personal standpoint. Jerry Salley plays on a lot of these songs but takes center stage in “The Back of the Church,” which in my opinion condenses the welcoming vibe of this record better than the others do (only slightly, mind you).
Lyrics aside, the music of Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout is phenomenally gripping from the moment we start to the second we finish. If “Heaven’s Back Yard” were an instrumental instead of the stirring vocal ballad that High Road fashions it as, it would still crater us with its emotional depiction of Heaven. Bradley Walker teams with Jerry Salley and Larry Cordle for “Henry Clayton Parker” which rips through the silence like a race horse in hot pursuit of some fleeting horizon. Cordle brings along Salley, Josh Swift and Larry Stephenson for “Sunday Morning Gospel Jubilee,” which helps to round out Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout on the sort of high note that makes a tough day feel just a bit less daunting.
Produced and executed with a divine sensitivity, Rick Lang’s Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout lives up to the expectations of hardcore Gospel aficionados just as well as it does ‘grass fans and country buffs, and as far as I’m concerned you’d be hard pressed to find a more anthological and well-rounded comp of its persuasion right now. Jerry Salley excellently carves out an ideal sonic space for over a dozen artists to pay their tribute to Lang’s workmanship and the source material that served as an immaculate muse. I’m not much of a religious person, but you’d have to have a heart of stone not to connect with the fearlessly hopeful tone of these songs. If the sporty hooks that Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout burns into our brains aren’t enough for you, its warmhearted narratives of kindness and kinship definitely should be.