Some artists are recognized for their prowess and proficiency. That’s natural of course. However, there are also the rarified few who are known for their absolute passion and purpose, a commitment to the cause that assures the fact that every effort they attach their name to will be well worth investigating.
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver are one of those bands, an outfit made up of consummate professionals whose devotion to bluegrass and its ongoing evolution is affirmed with each new outing. Consequently, it’s no surprise that Roundtable is another impeccable effort, one that exemplifies the group’s blend of reverence for their roots and their own contemporary credence. One could claim that it’s a true album for the ages, but if that was the case, then the same could be said of each of the recordings the band has shared in a cumulative career that spans well over four decades and more than 40 albums.
Still, there’s also something fresh and spontaneous about Roundtable, suggesting that despite that reliability and consistency, Lawson and company have lost neither their initiative nor their enthusiasm. Of course, the material is what matters most, and here again, the band reflects a deep appreciation for timeless tradition as well as the precise playing that’s set such a high bar. As always, the new album shares an astute combination of sturdy standards and impressive originals which fit together seamlessly.
The upbeat enthusiasm is immediately evident on opening track, I’ll Take the Lonesome Every Time, and it goes on from there to resonate throughout. It’s reflected in the life lessons shared on Between the Lines, the rapid-fire picking, plucking, and fiddling demonstrated so demonstratively in Sad Attack and the unfiltered optimism of the purposeful yet pleading, Old Man Winter.
At the same time, Quicksilver haven’t forsaken the high lonesome sound that becomes the counterpart to that rousing revelry. It’s found here in the mournful sound of This Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore, the tender reflection of Would You Carry Me, the quiet contemplation of Every Now and Then, and the absolute solace filtered through the sway and simplicity of In Those Days — the latter an ode to life as it once was when “neighbors were neighbors back then, and family was what life was about.”
Those old-fashioned sentiments reflect certain truths and charms that are often be brushed over these days. It’s appropriate then that the closing track, an a cappella read of the traditional Gospel hymn, A Little More Faith in Jesus, offers a reminder of just how effectively this astute ensemble manages to shift their stylistic stance with such ease and effectiveness. It’s hardly surprising that this particular Roundtable provides such a diverse discourse.