Black Music Matters Festival

Paul Williams and the Victory Trio

Living On The Hallelujah Side – 2003 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

CDs by Paul Williams and the Victory Trio

Paul Williams is a familiar voice in bluegrass music from his secular days with Jimmy Martin to his reestablished career in bluegrass gospel. He has certainly been prolific with this, his 9th release since 1996. The music here is all gospel in the finest bluegrass tradition. The group features tight harmonies with limited spells of solo work. Their sound and arrangements are traditional, more Ralph Stanley and Jimmy Martin than Mountain Heart.

There's not a bad song on the album. Selections range from traditional songs like "Whispering Hope" and "Our Saviour's Precious Blood" to new songs, mostly from lead singer Jeff Orr and Paul Humphrey. New ("I'm Free") or old ("When I Shall Ride The Cloud"), the songs don't vary from the gospel message or arrangements that you might have heard 10 or 40 years ago on bluegrass stages, but they still manage to address current topics: "Liberty And Justice For All" is a message to all those who scorn God and America. This is the best of bluegrass gospel.