Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver – Thank God
For a few years, after a string of excellent gospel albums that owed at least as much to the southern gospel quartet tradition as to bluegrass, it looked as if Doyle Lawson and his band might never make a bluegrass album again. But 2002’s mostly secular Hard Game Of Love brought them back to the genre with a vengeance, and while this new one is an all-gospel set, it’s as bluegrass as it gets.
Thank God is also about as good as it gets. The opening “Calling From Heaven”, written by Carter Stanley, sets the tone for the entire album with steady midtempo drive, impeccable instrumental fills and a sincere, impossibly precise quartet delivering the lyric’s message of redemption. All of the songs are decades old, but there’s scarcely a one that’s been overdone or even recently recorded, whether it’s the Louvin Brothers’ rangy “That’s All He’s Asking Of Me”, Flatt & Scruggs’ late 1940s gem “I’ll Be Going To Heaven Sometime”, or Willie Nelson’s meditative “In God’s Eyes”.
Quicksilver won their third consecutive IBMA Vocal Group of the Year award in 2002, and listening to this collection, it’s easy to see why. With plenty of talent and close to five years of almost daily singing together, they seem capable of doing anything Lawson asks. Guitarist Jamie Dailey and bassist Barry Scott, especially, are just plain sensational, trading off high lead vocals and even higher tenors with the confidence of the genre’s greatest singers — and, it’s increasingly clear, that’s exactly what they are. Two in one band? It doesn’t seem fair, but it sure sounds great.