Although Shelton & Williams is a new group comprised of bluegrass veterans Jay Shelton, and Johnny and Jeanette Williams, their debut release So Much Time, So Much Love, melds multiple styles together along with bluegrass such as country, Americana, gospel, and blues.
The material here is primarily made up of Shelton & Williams’ interpretations of previously recorded material. The opening track, Wasted On The Way, was originally recorded by Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1982. The version here is performed in somewhat of a contemporary bluegrass style, propelled by the dobro playing of Gary Hultman.
It’s A Good Day, first recorded by Peggy Lee in 1946, is one of the most intriguing pieces on this project. It’s obvious from Adam Steffey’s mandolin kickoff that he studied the jazzy guitar intro played by Dave Barbour. The arrangement here follows that original recording fairly closely. Jeannette Williams delivers a great performance here.
Magnolia Wind, written by Guy Clark and Shawn Camp, is a track that captures the vocal stylings of Jay Shelton wonderfully. Fiddler Nikki Wright makes some fine contributions to this piece as well.
Although Wait A Minute has been covered by numerous artists over several decades, this new rendition by Shelton & Williams is really well done, and one of several tracks that demonstrates the group’s strong vocal harmonies.
Don’t Cry Blue is a driving traditionally oriented song, written by Jonathan Edwards. This track features excellent banjo playing from Jason Davis and showcases Shelton & Williams’ deep bluegrass roots.
The two stand out tracks on So Much Time, So Much Love are gospel songs. If We Are The Body, previously recorded by the contemporary Christian band Casting Crowns, is given an excellent acoustic treatment which allows the message of the song to come through even more profoundly. The closing track, I’ve Made It Home, is a powerful a cappella piece, written by Johnny Williams. The group’s harmony and delivery of this piece is extremely emotional. It makes for such a strong finish.
As evidenced by their debut project, Shelton & Williams are made up of three singers and musicians that are well versed in multiple styles of acoustic music. So Much Time, So Much Love marks the beginning of a group with an already well-defined sound.