Thursday, June 24, 1993
Love Here Today (Brentwood) **** [four stars]
Closer Than It’s Ever Been (Brentwood) *** [three stars]
The New Tradition has it all: crack instrumentalists, an exceptional lead vocalist, soaring harmony singing, imaginative arrangements, and some fine songwriting, all rolled into an exciting newgrass style. “Love Here Today” opens with a fresh and dazzling adaptation of Bill Monroe’s “Can’t You Hear Me Calling,” and if that hasn’t grabbed you, their burning performance of the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” that follows will. A lead vocalist like Daryl Mosley is a rare find, combining power and accuracy with expressive flexibility. Fred Duggin is an impressive lead guitarist, and Danny Roberts’ clear-toned mandolin solos are thoughtful and lively. However, banjoist Richie Dotson is the standout player, spinning riveting, unpredictable lines that manage to be distinctive while displaying the Bela Fleck influence. “Closer Than It’s Ever Been” has the same virtues, but the unrelieved religious theme running through all of the songs grows a bit wearying. “Love Here Today” is simply one of this year’s best albums.
David Royko [aka David Duckman]
The Best CDs of 1994, #7: The New Tradition: Old Time Gospel Jamboree (Brentwood)