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Ricky Skaggs

Mosaic – 2010 (Skaggs Family Records)

Reviewed by C. Eric Banister

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CDs by Ricky Skaggs

The first thing listeners will notice about Ricky Skaggs' new album is that it is neither bluegrass, where Skaggs has been a torchbearer for many years, nor the neo-traditional country that made him a household name. If it must be categorized it fits most snuggly in the genre of Contemporary Christian Music. While final decision ultimately rest on Skaggs, the sound and feel of the album can be traced back to its producer, Gordon Kennedy. Kennedy, who played for the CCM group WhiteHeart throughout the 1980s, is also known for co-writing such songs as Change The World by Eric Clapton and You Move Me by Garth Brooks. Here, Kennedy co-writes 13 of the 14 songs, the 14th being an instrumental.

While it might be a slight shift, the collaboration of Skaggs and Kennedy has produced a solid album of songs that are cohesive in texture and theme. Skaggs has never been shy about his faith, but here it is right up front.

Album standouts include Someday Soon, I'm Awake Now featuring the vocals of Skaggs' daughter Molly, and My Cup Runneth Over, but there isn't a bad song in the bunch. The 14th track, titled Spontaneous Worship, is a great song building on the lead single, Return To Sender and features and hammered dulcimer, uileann pipes and other Celtic inspired instrumentation.

While his bluegrass and strict country fans might be taken by surprise, it is obvious that "Mosaic" comes directly from Skaggs' heart, and that's the best kind of music.