various artists,
Living in the Name of Love
(Copper Creek, 2001)

The second volume of Copper Creek's Bluegrass & Old-Time Gospel Favorites series, Living in the Name of Love, follows closely in the footsteps of Volume I, I Just Steal Away & Pray. Both discs introduce listeners to a broad range of musicians who record for the Virginia label.

With just a few words about the solid engineering on the technical side of the aisle and how impressive this roster of talent from deep in the Appalachians really is, I'll pursue the same reviewing gambit as with Volume I, talking just a bit about the selections on here that inspired me to go out and track down more music by the artists who snagged my ear (in a good way).

The title tune, offered by Claire Lynch, is lean, up-tempo and features some sweet Texas-swing style strings in a somewhat surprising but nonetheless pleasing role. The group East Virginia give a traditional mountain reading to their male vocal-driven "Million Years in Glory," and the traditional gospel lament "Your Long Journey" is given power and force by the duet of Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz. Bill and Libby Hicks give us pleasant harmonies and counterpoint in "Beautiful," while K. Inaba renders "A Beautiful Life" with strength and sincerity. The traditional tune "Moses and the Israelites" prospers in the hands of Tom, Brad & Alice, and George Shuffler demonstrates instrumental expertise on the fine "I am a Pilgrim." On this disc, though, the big gem is Ginny Hawker as she shimmers in "Sunshine in the Shadows," reason enough to seek out this disc.

As was true of Volume I, there was one tune here which didn't work for me, this time out, a disappointing instrumental rendering of "Sweet By and By," but in general the tunes listed above and those I've left for the listener to discover give a balanced set of old-time gospel music deserving of a place on any devotee's shelves.

- Rambles
written by Gilbert Head
published 15 March 2003

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