Like a torrential spring shower, the cascading notes pouring out of Justin Moses’ guitar and the mandolins, banjos, dobros, fiddles, and bass that surround him refresh and renew. Award-winning multi-instrumentalist Moses is joined on the album by the cream of the bluegrass crop, including his wife Sierra Hull, Del McCoury, Dan Tyminski, Jerry Douglas, Michael Cleveland, Shawn Lane, Bryan Sutton, Barry Bales, Stuart Duncan, Jason Carter, and Cody Kilby, among others.
The title track, written by Eric Clapton, opens sparsely, with Moses’ guitar and dobro playing call and response before blossoming into a brisk scamper featuring Moses’ octave-climbing vocals and a panoply of instrumental breaks that allows every player to shine. The track opens the album, setting the tone and raising the bar for the rest of the album.
Dueling mandolins open “Taxland,” driving the instrumental tune as it skitters and careens around Gypsy jazz corners. Bales’ bass propels Sutton’s gamboling guitar and Cleveland’s feverish fiddle as they weave through Hull’s and Moses’ scampering mandolins.
“Between the Lightning and the Thunder,” written by Thomm Jutz and Charlie Stefl, opens with haunting, sparse notes from Moses’ dobro before scuttling off into a rambunctious minor-chord ramble pushed by Tyminski’s vocals. While the Celtic-inflected ballad “Walking to Lebanon,” written by Moses, Jutz, and Peter Cooper, unspools like a waltz floating on Moses’ guitars and his and Hull’s vocals. The sprightly lover’s lament “My Baby’s Gone,” written by Dennis Linde, features McCoury on vocals with Carter’s fiddle and Hull’s mandolin carrying on a lively conversation on the instrumental bridge.
Douglas’ haunting dobro lines open the evocative and poignant “Looking for a Place,” written by Moses, Jutz, and Cooper, a gorgeous song that captures the longing for home simply through the shimmering strains of dobro and guitar. It’s the most beautiful song on the album.
The album closes as it should, with burning-down-the-barn jam “Locust Hill,” an instrumental that allows each player to stretch out and enjoy themselves and enjoy playing off each other’s riffs.
Fall Like Rain showcases Moses’ astonishing range as a musician and contains a dazzling musical variety. Fall Like Rain is, and will be, one of the best albums of the year.