Prime Cuts: Remember Me (I'm the One Who Loves You), Even Tho', Rocking the Boat
This album is more endearing that most people would ever realize. Recorded during a trying time when Little Roy was undergoing treatment for cancer (of the tongue), the making of this record isn't precisely a "good time." With countless hiatuses and re-takes, the making of Little Roy & Lizzy Show's debut album for StowTown Records is a labor of love and a testimony of God's grace. Yet, never ones to be avalanche by the torrents of despair, "Good Time, Down Home" springs with optimism and it has surprisingly more upbeat tunes than what we would expect. In fact, there are only two ballads out of an album of eleven bluegrass folkish burners often delivered at breakneck pace flourished with lots of dobro & banjo. Thus, fans who like their music rustic will have a feast with this new record.
Despite being released on the StowTown imprint, the songs here are not circumscribed to the religious sphere. Rather, they are more encompassing giving voice to issues such as relationships, family, living as well as God and faith. The songs themselves are equally diverse, ranging from originals to Gospel classics ("Uncloudy Day" and "Jesus is a Waymaker") to country warhorse ("Coat of Many Colors") to contemporary bluegrass ("Tear the Woodpile Down"). Staged by some foot stomping sounding fiddle, dobro and guitar, album opener "Up Above My Heaven" finds a tireless Little Roy trading lines with Lizzy Long without any wasted breath. This is followed by the ultra-catchy "Even Tho'," which has a ring of old fashioned mountain charm that makes this one-sided love song even more bittersweet.
"Remember Me (I'm the One Who Loves You)" is one of only two ballads on the record. And it's also the album's lodestar. Lizzy Long's mountain pure vocals sparkles with a refreshing charm especially when she croons this gorgeous ballad with nuance and forethought. The other ballad is the passable "The Uncloudy Day" which is intro-ed by Little Ray singing acapella in church. Dolly Parton's signature tune "Coat of Many Colors" could have increased the album's ballad quotient. But here the duo have decided to accelerate the pace a few notches which ends up being a tad awkward.
Not to be missed is "Rocking on the Waves." Top marks are to be given to Little Roy and Lizzy Long for trading their vocals in such an ingenious way that we can almost feel like we are in the boat rocking."Jesus is a Waymaker," the vanguard single off the record, gets a bare bones cum bluegrass read that is fetching. Not sure why they chose Marty Stuart's 2012 "Tear the Woodpile Down," but this isn't Stuart's best composition. Though the pair offers a first class take together wth Stuart himself, the song fails in its nebulous sounding structure.
Nevertheless, though the genesis of this album was bathed with pain and hardships, the execution of the songs and the duo's enduring faith are most commendable. This isn't just an album of songs. Rather, it's a testimony; a testimony that spells Jesus is indeed the waymaker.
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