Here’s another new Christmas release from Pinecastle Records, this time featuring a couple of unsung heroes in bluegrass music, Tony Wray and Dennis Parker. Both have many years of professional experience in the music business, but often not in the spotlight.
Tony works as a producer for Pinecastle and Bonfire Music, and is a first rate guitarist and banjo player as well. He spent seven years doing assembly and set up for Gibson Banjos in Nashville, and has worked with Dan Tyminski and his own group, Blue Mafia.
We mostly see Dennis singing harmony with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, where he also plays rhythm guitar. He has also added his soulful voice in Nashville working with Lee Ann Womack, Tracy Lawrence, Joe Diffie, and Mark Chesnutt. Parker became a minor YouTube sensation among those who appreciate fine singing with his oddly-named series, Songs Under My Air Conditioning Unit, where he performed both original and popular songs by himself with only his guitar.
Working together, these two have recorded a new version of the classic Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, made famous in bluegrass by The Stanley Brothers. The song was written by Adger M Pace and R Fisher Boyce in 1940, and has since been covered dozens of times by bluegrass, country, and gospel artists.
Here’s Tony and Dennis’ version, with spoken word narrative by Kyle Cantrell.
Beautiful Star of Bethlehem by Tony Wray and Dennis Parker is available now from popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers will find the track at AirPlay Direct.
You can check out all the Christmas bluegrass we have covered at Bluegrass Today by following this link.