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Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver - You Gotta Dig A Little Deeper
CD Review by Jim Moulton

Doyle has fronted Quicksilver for twenty five years and has been in this business for four decades. This disc is his debut for Rounder Records. Doyle is well known for his gospel bluegrass as well as his secular music which is what this CD is about. Eddie Stubbs writes extensive liner notes telling Doyle's story. Stubbs has been the long time radio announcer for the Grand Ole Opry.

Doyle's form of bluegrass has a more traditional bent than some of today's hot artists like Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent. The recording is bare bones, like listening to a live show, with a touch of reverb. Eddie says that Doyle is a perfectionist in all that he does and is a very demanding band leader. You can tell that in this very disciplined recording, where it sounds like the musicians are reading from sheet music. Very structured and perfect, not much room for creativity, but that's old time bluegrass where they actually have contests to see who is the best guitar picker and so on. Jerry Garcia would never fit in here, though in his day, he was one of the best.

What strikes you most here is not so much the instruments, but the incredible vocal harmonies. They really nail that high and lonesome sound. Three and four part harmonies that sound like a Southern Gospel Quartet, just plain incredible singing. Doyle produced this with the help of Wes Easter and they also remixed it. Instrumentally what sticks out the most is their talented fiddle player, Jesse Stockman. There's some nice mandolin and banjo. What is missing is some hot bluegrass guitar picking, no Cody Kilby (Kentucky Thunder) or dobro, Jerry Douglas (Union Station). The acoustic guitars are basically used for accompaniment, emphasis on vocals. Tonally, it is a real nice recording, no mastering credits, a real natural sounding recording.

"You Gotta Dig A little Deeper" (title track) has some great fiddle, is a mid-tempo track with some great four part harmonies. Honestly, this is some great sounding music, but out of the twelve tracks, only a couple really reached out and grabbed me.

"Saving Grace", is a song that just blows me away, a real sad song. A song about Alzeimer's disease and a lady named Grace. This song will bring tears to your eyes. I don't know who sings lead, it isn't Doyle, but this guy really draws you in. Great lyrics. 

"But he'll spend the rest of his life saving Grace". I really like the bass in this song. Also, guest fiddle player Glen Duncan does a great job. This song really sticks out from the rest.

Another song that really stands out is a Porter Wagoner song "What Ain't To Be, Just Might Happen". A great upbeat song with some comic relief. Great lyrics and vocal hooks. 

This is good true blue bluegrass, better than a lot of country stuff out there. 

Go visit Doyle at www.DoyleLawson.com 

Street Date 3/29/05

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