This 31-cut, two-disc project is a masterpiece that reflects both the secular and spiritual sides of Ralph Stanley's artistry. It is also a concept he mulled over in his mind for sometime before executing it. The idea was to include performers from both the country and bluegrass worlds doing songs that somehow fit into the Stanley Brothers' tradition. With the inclusion of some Stanley originals as well as tunes written by Bill Monroe, Dwight Yoakam, Tom T. Hall, and Roy McMillan, this is not only a diverse compilation of material, but also one that never fails to interest the listener. Highlights include a duet between Stanley and Yoakam on the infectious "Down Where the River Bends," and it quickly moves through to the final secular duet between Stanley and fellow bluegrasser Bill Monroe. Their team work on "Letter From My Darling" is monumental. The spiritual numbers include Stanley and Tom T. Hall on the gospel number "Rank Stranger" and Carter Stanley's sadly descriptive "The Fields Have All Turned Brown." But, the most beguiling track is the fervent version of Yoakam's tribute song to his coal-mining grandfather, Luther Tibbs. "Miner's Prayer" is given a gospel overhaul that actually makes what was already a brilliant creation into an even more ageless tune that will be played, loved, and remembered for many generations to come. Ralph Stanley's High Lonesome sound fits in perfectly here and is endlessly effective. A concept that works well for Stanley and his many friends, this is certainly a project that belongs in every bluegrass or gospel collection.
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AllMusic Review by Jana Pendragon