The career paths of these three bluegrass legends have crossed numerous times over the past half century. This time, they’ve crossed paths for a cause: to record a robust, traditional gospel tribute to the late great Jimmy Martin, who had a profound influence on all three of these men. Doyle Lawson, who like Crowe and Williams served a stint in Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys many moons ago, says in his heartfelt liner notes: “We wanted to do a CD of songs that we had sung with Jimmy on stage and on records. This was a labor of love and an appreciation for a man and his music.”
Quite a few of the titles here (“Prayer Bells Of Heaven,” “Stormy Waters,” “This World Is Not My Home”) are stalwart bluegrass gospel standards. The trio also reprises a pair of Martin’s original spirituals: “Voice Of My Savior” and “Give Me Your Hand.” This powerhouse harmony trio (Crowe on baritone vocals, Lawson on lead vocals, and Williams on lead and tenor vocals on various tracks) is backed at various times by Cia Cherryholmes (high harmony vocals), Sonya Isaacs (high harmony vocals), Ben Isaacs (bass and bass vocals), Ron Stewart (fiddle), and Harry Stinson (snare drum).
Each and every one of these 12 tracks is imbued with precise and powerful harmonies and an earnest, soulful spirit of collaboration and sense of tradition. The vocal performances flow so seamlessly and resonate with such confidence and conviction that it makes it easy to imagine these three masters, whose careers have taken such different paths over the years, have actually been singing together forever. (Mountain Home Music, P.O. Box 829, Arden, NC 28704, www.crossroadsmusic.com.) BA