Personnel: Paul Williams (vocals, tenor, mandolin); Dan Moneyhun (tenor, guitar); Adam Winstead (baritone); Jerry Keys (banjo); Hunter Berry (fiddle); Susie Keys (acoustic bass).
Audio Mixer: Alan Maggard.
Recording information: Maggard Sound Studio, Big Stone Gap, VA.
Photographer: Chris Rector.
Paul Williams' career has been something of an anomaly. Starting out very early as a member of the legendary Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, he made his name as mandolinist and tenor singer in the classic lineup of Jimmy Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys. Then, after several years of semi-retirement, he joined the Rebel Records roster in 1999 and has since recorded 12 albums for that label leading a gospel ensemble called (slightly misleadingly, given its five-person lineup) the Victory Trio. Those who like the polished but powerful bluegrass gospel sound of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver will find plenty to enjoy on Williams' albums; his tenor voice has lost hardly a step in the past five decades, and his band combines watertight picking with a rich and slightly grainy ensemble vocal sound that perfectly complements Williams' own voice. The program consists mostly of original and modern tunes written in a traditional style, and all are excellent; Williams is an exceptionally gifted songwriter whose material has been recorded in the past by the likes of Ernest Tubb and Ray Charles, and this album features some of his finest work, including "Kept and Protected" and the wonderful "He'll Calm the Troubled Waters." His selections from other writers are mostly very good as well, though "Miracle Man" doesn't quite rise to the standard of the rest of the program. ~ Rick Anderson
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