Ricky Skaggs: Salt Of The Earth

Salt of the EarthHere’s another CD that I’ve found the time to listen to. Ricky Skaggs recently released a CD with his wife Sharron and her family, The Whites. The CD is called Salt of the Earth, taking its name from the fourth track on the disc. The CD is released on the Skaggs Family label and distributed by Fontana. The CD was released in September of this year.

Salt of the Earth marks the first time that Ricky and The Whites have collaborated on an entire CD.

The Whites consist of sisters Sharron and Cheryl, along with their father Buck. Joining the Whites and Ricky on the CD are Mark Fain, Cody Kilby, and Andy Leftwich from Ricky’s band. Ricky’s daughter Molly, and a cast of Nashville session players accompany on various instruments.

The disc contains 13 tracks, most of them overtly gospel in nature. The first track is the only one that might not be considered an outright gospel song though it does speak of heaven and God’s love in the last verse.

Several old hymns, including Farther Along, Near The Cross, Blessed Assurance, and The Solid Rock, found their way onto this recording and they are perhaps some of my favorite tracks. These songs seem to be missing from many churches today, and it’s nice to have them here done in a straitforward manner, but with a bluegrass sensibility. Andy Leftwich’s tasteful fiddle really sweeten these old songs.

Lead vocals are shared more or less evenly between the four family members, with Ricky singing one or two more than each of the others. Tight family harmonies are heard throughout. The arrangements are all very appropriate and tastefull, even sparce at times, allowing the listener to connect with the lyrics and not get lost in fancy picking.

For fans of Skaggs, The Whites, and gospel music, this CD will be a welcome addition to the collection.

In a related note, we’ve learned that Skaggs and The Whites will be performing tomorrow, November 10, 2007 on A Prairie Home Companion. Their performance will center around songs from this CD with members of Kentucky Thunder providing accompaniment. Broadcast times vary depending on station so you’ll need to consult the station list for a broadcast in your area.

Alternately, you can tune in live netcast from 5-7PM CST.