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The Churchmen

I'll Be Long Gone – 2008 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Dr. Bobby Jones

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CDs by The Churchmen

The Churchmen have a background in secular bluegrass, and it shows in the singing style and grassy musical arrangements. With different words the opening cut, Only Yours, could be a modern bluegrass number. However, their message is clearly the gospel delivered in a bluegrass format - the songs are of hope, inspiration and faith. Many are long time bluegrass favorites such as Back to the Cross, Take Me In Your Lifeboat, and Are You Lost In Sin, a Jim and Jesse number. Rocked on the Deep is a public domain quartet number, showcasing tight vocal harmonies backed by a spare guitar accompaniment in a Doyle Lawson style that is especially effective.

The musicians - David Guthrie, Freddy Rakes (he only sings), Keith Clark, Gerald Harbour and Tim Smith - are veterans and experts on their respective instruments, while the vocals are phrased and blended well. The CD is bluegrass gospel but the harmony stacks have a Southern Gospel flavor at times, and fans of both bluegrass and Southern Gospel should find it enjoyable.