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Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout features songs written by Rick Lang and performed by various bluegrass and country singers. Even though the cover art work states “and more” after the list of singers, the list of ten artists is actually complete. Dave Adkins and Marty Raybon each sing two songs, accounting for the album’s 12 track total. (I suppose “and more” refers to other vocalists who provide harmonies.)
“Thinkin’ Outside The Box” (Dave Adkins) has an interesting line about “an eternal train of thought.” The “box,” though it isn’t directly addressed as such, is a coffin. High Road is featured on “Heaven’s Back Yard.” This versatile group of ladies always creates compelling vocal harmonies whether it’s a bluegrass song like this, a worship song, or something intended more for a country/southern audience.
Marty Raybon is backed by Larry Stephenson, Jerry Salley, and Josh Swift, creating a male quartet for the fun “I See God.” “Don’t Tune Him Out” uses a creative string of radio metaphors and features The Whites. Jerry Salley, whose voice is heard more than anyone else singing background vocals on Gonna Sing Gonna Shout, steps into the featured vocalist spotlight on “The Back Of The Church.” It is the best story song on this album. The title track, “Gonna Sing Gonna Shout,” is performed by Claire Lynch with Brandon Rickman, Jerry Salley, and Josh Swift adding quartet harmonies on the choruses.
The title character in “Henry Clayton Parker” (performed by Bradley Walker), sadly, has a false theology. Henry “believes salvation is something that you earn,” so on Sunday morning, rather than going to church, “Henry can be found reading from the Bible to the people passing by from a park bench in the middle of the town.” The chorus goes on to say, “There’s more than one way to be saved from Henry’s point of view. You don’t have to be inside the church when you’ve got the church in you.” I hoped ol’ Henry would see the error in his beliefs before the end of the song, but it doesn’t happen.
“There Will Be Singing” is a good song about going to heaven sung by The Cox Family. Marty Raybon returns to sing his second feature, “I’ve Read The Book,” with harmonies by Maggie Salley, Jerry Salley, and Larry Stephenson. Kenny and Amanda Stephenson are also joined by Jerry Salley for “They Were Fishermen.”
Salley appears as well on the final two tracks backing Larry Cordle on “Sunday Morning Gospel Jubilee” with Stephenson & Swift and backing Dave Adkins on “There Is A Light” with Maggie Salley. “Sunday Morning Gospel Jubilee” starts off a bit like “Henry Clayton Parker” in that the main character, Sonny, is not fond of attending church. Sonny usually prefers hunting and fishing and the occasional strong beverage on Sunday mornings, but then he discovers the Gospel Jubilee on television. Sonny hears the message in the music loud and clear and in turn, gives his life to Jesus Christ. “There Is A Light” is not a particularly unique lyric, but it’s well worth hearing. Dave Adkins renders the most passionate vocal performance you’ll experience on Gonna Sing Gonna Shout.
Bluegrass music is generally upbeat and happy, but it can sometimes lack variety in terms of chord changes, keys, and tempos. Gonna Sing Gonna Shout avoids those common pitfalls by using a few extra chords, a variety of keys, and not always moving at the same pace. There’s a hint of western swing in a couple of instances as well to lend more variety. Some various artists recordings can be distracting, but the vocalists here are very compatible with each other. The production quality is also consistent regardless of who is singing the melody. I also really like the concept of featuring songs from only one writer, and wish record labels would do that more often.
Song Titles: Thinkin’ Outside The Box – Dave Adkins; Heaven’s Back Yard – High Road; I See God – Marty Raybon; Don’t Tune Him Out – The Whites; The Back Of The Church – Jerry Salley; Gonna Sing Gonna Shout – Claire Lynch; Henry Clayton Parker – Bradley Walker; There Will Be Singing – The Cox Family; I’ve Read The Book – Marty Raybon; They Were Fishermen – Kenny & Amanda Smith; Sunday Morning Gospel Jubilee – Larry Cordle; There Is A Light – Dave Adkins
Release Date: November 16, 2018
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars