The Farm Hands may have assigned themselves a humble handle, but the fact is, they have accrued an impressive history along the way. Having amassed more than 80 award nominations — and garnered 30 of them in the process — they’ve become one of the most prolific touring outfits on the live circuit today, especially when considering the fact that they average over 150 dates each year.
None of this should come as any real surprise — the four members of the band (singer and resonator guitar player Tim Graves, singer and bassist Daryl Moseley, singer and guitarist Keith Tew, and singer and banjo player Don Hill) are all accomplished artists in their own right. On this latest project, fiddler Kimberly Bibb contributes to the proceedings, adding further resilience to their sound.
Consequently, it takes an album like Good Things to underscore their particular appeal. While the band blends bluegrass with a distinct Gospel devotion (hence their win as Bluegrass Gospel Band of the Year at this year’s SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards), their music offers a broad embrace that asserts the possibility of secular success as well. The sound is easy and assured, tailor-made to ensure an instant engagement. That fact’s affirmed both through such jaunty instrumentals as Draining the Swamp (presumably no political posturing is intended) and the rousing and rambling Dixie Breakdown, two songs that bring their knowing instincts to the fore.
Mostly though, Good Things focuses on story songs and narratives, whether it’s the tale told of Hillbilly Graham about an unassuming preacher chided by his religious peers for “talking about Jesus when you look like you’ve been left out in the rain,” or the benefits of a positive upbringing even amidst humble circumstances, as described on the tuneful title track. Indeed, every one of the 13 songs matches purity with positivity, resulting in an upbeat delivery from beginning to end. The fact that all the material comes from the band’s confines save the bonus track IOU, penned by Jimmy Dean, attests to their skill with both words and music.
It’s not often one finds an entire album that’s not only upbeat and effusive, but also decidedly lacking in cynicism or self doubt. Indeed, faith and optimism tend to go hand in hand. Or in this case, hand in Farm Hands might be the better description.