While none of the young ladies of the Loose Strings Band are even out of college yet, they’re already making a name for themselves around their home base of Galax, Virginia. In the past year, they not only placed 13th out of over 100 groups in the bluegrass band competition at the Galax Old Fiddlers Convention, they also released a new album, a Gospel collection filled with uplifting, mostly familiar numbers performed in a traditional-leaning style.
Everlasting Faith, the group’s third release, features ten tracks, most of which have become Gospel standards. The album opens with They’re Holding Up the Ladder, an upbeat, foot-tapping Easter Brothers number about living life to attain the ultimate goal of Heaven. They also offer cheery versions of two Stanley Brothers classics, Daniel Prayed and Hallelujah I’m Ready to Go. Both are fairly faithful to the originals, although Daniel Prayed (particularly the harmonies) seems to be modeled after the more recent Patty Loveless cut. Hallelujah I’m Ready to Go isn’t quite as driving as previous versions have often been, though still enjoyable. Grace Wilson and Lindsey Nale’s vocals are sincere and the group throws in an interesting a capella chorus near the end of the song.
One of the most powerful songs on the album is Homecoming, which fans of Rhonda Vincent might recognize from several of her albums. While Rhonda’s version is already pretty stripped down, the Loose Strings Band does a completely a capella version here. Lindsey Nale takes the lead vocals, and the other band members contribute tight, pure harmonies. The harmonies on By the Mark are also quite well-done.
Other particularly enjoyable tracks are the bouncy, uptempo I’ll Fly Away and the album closer, a straightforward yet soulful version of Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Also of note is the album’s one song not based in traditional music, Beautiful Things. The group does a fine job with the folk-pop sounds of this recent cut from the contemporary Christian-leaning group Gungor. Channing Russell offers a gentle guitar opening that fits the song well.
All of the band members take turns with the lead vocals, offering sweet, earnest takes on these well-known songs. While the girls in the band are still young, they are all skilled musicians and contribute solid instrumentation to the project. If Everlasting Faith is any indication, Wilson (bass), Russell (guitar), Lindsey Nale (fiddle), and Ashley Nale (banjo) all have a bright future ahead of them in bluegrass music.
For more information on the Loose Strings Band, visit their website at www.theloosestringsband.com. Their new album is available from several online retailers.