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The Churchmen

Traveling Through – 2006 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by The Churchmen

As long as there has been bluegrass, there has been bluegrass gospel, and while most groups include a few gospel songs in every set, there are plenty of other acts who perform nothing but gospel, bluegrass style. The Churchmen have been doing just that for a while now, and this new album showcases them as an original band with healthy respect for tradition.

Ten of the 12 new songs are original to the band, from contemporary writers like Paul Williams and Tom T. and Dixie Hall, which immediately sets them apart from traditionalists who draw from the rich but limited history of congregational hymns and classic gospel tunes.

The musicianship is superb, and the group's vocal harmonies are up to the challenge even of the faster songs like the appropriately jubilant, "Glorious City," making this a disc to enjoy both inside and outside of the church walls.