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Ricky Skaggs and the Whites

Salt of the Earth – 2007 (Skaggs Family)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Ricky Skaggs and the Whites

It's about time that Ricky Skaggs and The Whites did an entire project together. Sporadic collaborations over the years have been quite successful with fans. The Whites - Buck, Sharon and Cheryl - are mainstays of the Grand Ole Opry. Skaggs, married to Sharon White, is a former country star, who's playing bluegrass almost full-time these days. Skaggs has released numerous recordings over the past five years, but The Whites have been less prolific.

This collaboration is a nice collection of gospel and spiritual material. Many of the songs are familiar favorites, including "Wings Of A Dove," "Farther Along" and "This Old House," while some are lesser know (but still strong) like "Homesick for Heaven," and "One Seed Of Love." "Love Will be Enough" is a little syrupy, but it is the only weak song.

Skaggs always sounds good, but one of the treats of this recording is getting to hear the vocals and musicianship (piano and mandolin) of patriarch, Buck White. He shines on the classic, "Wreck On the Highway" and "This Old House." Sharon White does a nice job on "Homesick For Heaven," and Cheryl shines on a number of cuts including, "The Solid Rock." One strength of family bands like The Whites, is their harmonies. There's plenty of that here.

More of a mix of secular and gospel music would have been preferred. Nonetheless, the vocals are strong throughout. A very enjoyable album.