Dale Ann Bradley

Send the Angels

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    8
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It's a little bit difficult to put your finger on what makes Dale Ann Bradley's second gospel album so affecting. Maybe it's the sugar-and-salt combination of her sweet, gentle voice and a consistently powerful, hard-driving instrumental accompaniment; or maybe it's the juxtaposition of hooky, almost poppy melodies with no-nonsense traditional bluegrass arrangements. Whatever the explanation, the cascading harmonies on the chorus of "Send the Angels Down" are enough to give anyone goose bumps, and the more astringent charms of "Walking in the Spirit" are deeply appealing in a slightly different way. "Daddy Did His Best" is just a bit too moist and clich├ęd -- Daddy was poor and had plenty of reason to complain, but this world was not his home and he was making payments on a mansion and when he died he left this world for one much better, yada yada yada -- and "Crosses and Stones" seems like a rather lighthearted take on the crucifixion. But those are the only two jarring elements in what is an otherwise exceptionally fine album. (Docked half a star for being only 31-minutes-long.)

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