Various Artists

20th Century Gospel: From Hymns to Blackwood Brothers Tribute to Christian Country

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Among music fans, the phrase "they just don't make records like they used to..." ranks with the most commonly heard complaints. 20th CENTURY GOSPEL is a record exactly like they used to make, and may be just the thing for nostalgia-buffs looking for a touch of the old in the 21st century. Masterminded by Art Greenhaw, latter-day leader of Western-swing pioneers the Light Crust Doughboys, the album is a good-vibe-packed mix of Southern gospel, Nashville Sound-style country, and instrumental guitar rock.

Often sounding like the jukebox playlist from some mythical Southwestern 1950s coffee shop, the album features a rich, reverb-drenched production style reminiscent of Chet Atkins's best work. Greenhaw's manly baritone is warm and inviting, and when backed by vocal-group legends the Jordanaires ("Gospel Woman," "Welcome to My World"), the resultant sound suggests the glory days of Elvis Presley and Jim Reeves. Guitar god and former Ventures member Nokie Edwards guests on several tracks ("Ode to Joy," "The Great Speckled Bird") and his sound has never been twangier. A pristinely recorded and expertly played slice of truly American music, 20th CENTURY GOSPEL is an uplifting work that resonates with the participants' obvious love of making music.

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