Since they began playing in East Tennessee area churches nearly two decades ago, LakeSide has remained firmly committed to sharing the message of Jesus Christ through their unique blend of contemporary bluegrass and southern gospel stylings. Their fifth studio release, Take Me To Calvary, demonstrates their versatility right alongside their originality.
The project opens with the title song, Take Me To Calvary, penned by Brad Frazier. With vocals from mandolinist Greg Blankenship and bassist Jackie Cummings, this song has a bit of a gritty, bluesy feel to it. Other band members on this track include Walt Williamson on guitar, John Robert Freels on banjo, and Amanda Thomas, who splits fiddling duties with Jimmy Sims.
From The Third Day On by Mark “Brink” Brinkman, is a powerful song about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Singing lead on this track is John Robert Freels, whose smooth baritone voice gets the message of this piece across effectively.
God Is Able by Jimmy Bilbrey is an a cappella piece that displays LakeSide’s smooth vocal harmonies. Featuring Greg Blankenship on lead, Jackie Cummings on tenor, John Robert Freels on baritone, and Walt Williamson on bass, this simple song shares a good reminder of all the things God can do in both good and bad times.
When He Laid Eyes On Me by Ben Allen is a simple song about a person’s journey coming to faith in the Lord. Once again featuring Freels on lead vocal, this track features elegant twin fiddling from Jimmy Sims and Amanda Thomas.
The following track, Satan Loves To See a Brother Fall, is a direct, yet appropriate contrast. Cowritten by Marc Rossi and Jeff Walter, this catchy driving melody has a great message about being careful of temptations on things that Satan can use to weaken one’s spirit. This track features the rumbling bass voice of Walt Williamson on lead vocals and is a good example of the group’s versatility in terms of vocal sounds.
The Longer I Kneel, by Blankenship and Ben Allen, features the high tenor voice of Jackie Cummings. This song has a simple yet powerful message about the power of prayer.
The closing track, Just A Little Light, was co-written by Tony Wood and Lyn Rowell. Featuring Becky Buller on lead and harmony vocals, as well as twin fiddling with Amanda Thomas, this one made for a powerful finish.
Take Me To Calvary is a pleasant collection of mostly original gospel material with a contemporary bent. LakeSide’s greatest strength is their singing. Some bands may have one or two notable lead vocalists, whereas in this case we have three of the six members sharing lead vocal duties, and doing so equally well. While the messages of each song have been heard time and time again, they’re presented here in new and refreshing ways.