The Bluegrass Service

The Bluegrass ServiceI just discovered a new bluegrass gospel CD, The Bluegrass Service, by one Greg Adkins who is serving on staff at Powell Church in Knoxville, TN. Greg decided to use his love for bluegrass combined with his love for God and gospel music to create a CD of bluegrass music arranged in such as a way as could be used in a worship service. The CD features a few familiar hymns such as Amazing Grace and I’ll Fly Away alongside a Bob Dylan tune, a Gillian Welch tune, and a few new songs written by Greg or friends of his.

Normally I wouldn’t call your attention to just any new CD by someone I’d never heard of before, but I listened to the samples offered on Greg’s blog, and I must say this is a nice sounding CD. Worship Musician Magazine thought so as well giving the CD a very nice review from which I’ll excerpt just one statement.

Broken up into the order of a worship service, Adkins’ sequencing helps us see the wholeness of a life submitted in worship to our savior. Following an instrumental take on "Amazing Grace", replete with the mandolin, dobro, banjo and supple acoustic guitar that frame every song, the album segues into a call of worship with a few songs you may have never imagined being used in a traditional worship service before.

I had a chance to visit with Greg via email and asked him about the CD. I had noticed that one of the tracks for which there is a sample clip contained drums.

There are drums on two songs and there’s one other that has some keyboards that couldn’t really be called bluegrass… of the 12 tracks, I’d say 8 of them are straight up traditional bluegrass though… the others have bluegrass elements but also have drums or keys.

The CD title implies this music might perhaps be used in the worship services at the church where Greg serves.

We don’t use this in worship every week, but we do have special bluegrass services about 4 times a year. We’re thinking about one day starting a bluegrass service that would happen every week… not sure about that yet though.

Greg plays guitar and keyboard on the CD and is joined by Andy Wood on mandolin and acoustic guitar, Mike Ritter on banjo, Brent Conner on upright bass, Jerry Moore on fiddle, John Montgomery on dobro, Bill Wolf on guitar, and Marcus Fife on bass and drums.

The CD contains 13 tracks, but tracks 1 and 12 look to be the same, or at least alike enough that Greg only said there were 12 tunes on the CD. Here’s the track list. You can hear audio samples here.

1. Amazing Grace (instrumental prelude)
2. Lutheran Hymn (Mike Roe)
3. I’ll Fly Away / I Saw the Light (traditional / Hank Williams)
4. Behold my Weary Soul (Bill Wolf)
5. When the roll is called up yonder (trad.)
6. By the Mark (Gillian Welch)
7. Beautiful Scandalous Night (Hindalong / Daugherty)
8. Pray where you Are (Lost Dogs)
9. Uncle Joe’s Bunions (Greg Adkins)
10. Forgiveness Waltz (Jonathan Rundman)
11. I Believe in You (Bob Dylan)
12. Amazing Grace (Instrumental postlude)
13. Last Song (Bill Mallonee / Julie Miller)