Posted by: RedOni from: Oregon on
Lou Reid & Carolina - Sounds Like Heaven to Me
Rural Rhythm RCH-2006
Lou Reid & Carolina received IBMA‘s "Emerging Artist of the Year" Award way back in 1994. A few band members (e.g. Terry Baucom, Kevin Richardson, Joe Hannabach) have come and gone over the years, but Carolina has always continued to present a mature signature sound. The all-gospel “Sounds Like Heaven to Me” is the band’s tenth album release in 16 years.
The opening cut written by Dennis Duff emphasizes that “on God’s front porch the door is always open, and the light is always on …” If there’s one thing I’ve always liked about this group, it’s the warm and tender imagery that they can convey when they serve up their fresh material from excellent writers. Duff also penned three other songs on this album, and “Daddy Tried” and “Sunday’s Best” also have similarly evocative or contemplative messages. Exceptional vocals and instrumental work are also key components of the Lou Reid & Carolina sound, and this gospel project is an ideal medium for their cohesive presentation. Besides singing, Lou plays mandolin, and Christy plays bass. Banjo-player Trevor Watson is another longtime Carolina band member who continues to contribute hard-driving energetic banjo. Guitarist Shannon Slaughter may only have a few years with the band, but he‘s settled nicely into the mix. Award-winning guest fiddler Ron Stewart adds exceptional breaks and accompaniment.
Born on a North Carolina tobacco farm, Reid grew up around music. His experience includes stints with Doyle Lawson, Ricky Skaggs, Seldom Scene, and Longview. Also from North Carolina, Christy Reid has noteworthy musicians in her family lineage -- her grandfather a fiddle champion, and her cousin (Kent Dowell) was with the Country Gentlemen. Christy and Lou married in 2004. Trevor Watson’s mother and father both played bluegrass, and Trevor was picking by age eight. He won first place in the bluegrass banjo contest at the Galax Old-time Fiddler's Convention. Shannon Slaughter has toured with some top bands including Lost & Found, Larry Stephenson, and Lonesome River Band.
While Reid's fine and steady voice is centerstage most of the time, the rest of the band also get a chance to shine with vocals of their own. Written by Stan Dailey, Shannon sings “Finally Made It Home.” With Christy in the vocal forefront, “Sweet By and By” is a very strong rendition of a song from the traditional canon. “It’s Hard to Stumble (When You're Down on Your Knees)” provides some clear direction to those on life’s rocky road. Co-penned by Lou Reid and T. Michael Coleman, “Lord Have Mercy (On my Soul)” features the band’s quartet in a poignant a cappella rendering. The album’s uptempo closer, “God’s Plan,” is a thoughtful expressive number that aligns our hearts with God to overcome life‘s trials and struggles. Inspirational throughout, this all-gospel album has plenty of moving sentiments, joyful statements, sweet melodies, and rousing rhythms. A gospel project should offer plenty of spiritual guidance, and “Sounds Like Heaven to Me“ certainly doesn‘t fail to deliver. (Joe Ross)
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