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Various Artists

The Gospel According To Austin, TX – 2000 (107.1 FM KGSR/Benefit CD)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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Gospel is not the first thing that leaps to mind about the Austin music scene. But it has a strong tradition of gospel. The trouble is, outside of churches and gospel brunches, there is nowhere to hear gospel in this music-rich community. This CD was put together to raise funds to help run a live gospel music venue in downtown Austin.

Only three of the 16 tracks are from 'household names' in the music business. Billy Joe and son, (the late) Eddy Shaver contribute "You Can't Beat Jesus Christ," Don Walser does a rollicking original, "Heavenly Band' and Larry Gatlin provides a spirited "Hey You." Elsewhere, there are some tremendous a cappella treatments of gospel favorites, including "Amazing Grace," from Lisa Tingle, "John The Revelator," by Johnny Nicholas and "Wayfaring Stranger," from the Kyle Family. Tejano-style is represented nicely on Ruben Ramos' cover of Kris Kristofferson's "One Day At A Time." The musical saw is featured on Guy Forsyth's version of Marty Robbin's "Master's Call." Other stellar tracks include the country-flavored ""I Believe In You" from Milton Carroll and Jorma Kaukonen's "True Religion" from the Imperial Golden Crown Harmonizers.

While so much of today's gospel music is over-produced to make it more commercially attractive, this project has a refreshingly 'rootsy' feel. Lots of different artists and musical styles help make a good showcase of Austin's gospel music heritage. (Gospel According to Austin)