James King: Gardens In The Sky – The Bluegrass Gospel of James King

by Fooch Fischetti

Imagine you’re at your favorite bluegrass festival and just spent the weekend hearing and playing some great music.  It’s a little earlier than you would prefer to be up on a Sunday Morning, but you don’t want to miss the gospel sets of some of the bands you enjoyed last night.  You are not disappointed!

James King captures that feeling in his album “Gardens in the Sky,” his first all-gospel collection. It features a dozen songs that have been previously released on James’ and others albums, along with 6 new tunes recorded just for “Gardens in the Sky,” including “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore” by Chris Stapleton.

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“Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore”

The album starts off with a bang with “Will He Wait A Little Longer” a hard driving tune with a great fiddle break by Aubrey Haynie.  One song that particularly jumped out at me,  “Jerusalem Tomorrow,” is a haunting story and is set up perfectly by the lone fiddle (Adam Haynes) at the beginning and the end. The sparse arrangement makes the song come alive.

Among the 18 songs on the CD, there are half a dozen waltzes, and some of the sweetest harmony you have ever heard.  Just when you are sitting back in your chair, Chris Hill on banjo kicks off the hottest tune on the album,  “Will You Feel At Home.”

There are many great musicians backing King including Rhonda Vincent, Dan Tyminski and Dudley Connell just to name a few.  From the “rhythmic feel” to the solos, all the musicians come together to capture just the right atmosphere for each song.

The production quality is exceptional and consistent.  One would never know some of the cuts were recorded at different times for other albums.

I thoroughly enjoyed this CD and would recommend it highly to anyone who loves bluegrass and enjoys music with a soul of it’s own.


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