by Jack Dwyer
If you know the music of Paul Williams, you will know exactly what to expect from any Rebel release featuring Paul Williams and The Victory Trio. Indeed, Just A Little Closer Home delivers much more than just a few moments of bluegrass gospel bliss. Even if the name Paul Williams is unfamiliar, bluegrass listeners will already be well acquainted with Mr. Williams through his extensive work with Jimmy Martin. Williams performed and recorded with Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys from 1958 to 1962 and appears on many of his most well known recordings, in particular Martin’s earlier gospel recording.
“There’s Still Time”
The highlight of this album, of course, would have to be Williams’ powerful and pure tenor singing. Yet, he is skillfully accompanied by a cast of talented vocalists and pickers, which makes for an entertaining mix of bluegrass breakdowns, ballads, and ensemble singing. The vocals shine particularly bright on the fourth and ninth tracks of the album, which are performed without instrumental accompaniment, in the classic bluegrass gospel a cappella style. All this makes for good listening, especially for gospel fans, but also for those who aren’t normally drawn to gospel music. This is entirely due to Mr. Williams and his band, all of whom possess a high degree of musicianship, which they have succeeded in capturing on this recording.