luminaries show country's ties to gospel

Amazing Grace: A Country Salute To Gospel (Sparrow)
various artists

By Michael W. Stout

Never before has there been such a moving collection of old-time hymns performed in such an angelic manner as on Amazing Grace: A Country Salute To Gospel. This album contains some of the most inspiring and incredible gospel performances your ear will ever have the pleasure of hearing, as a variety of today's hottest country and gospel artists join forces to lift their voices in song.

This precious collection of classic hymns is further evidence of the close union between country and gospel music that has existed from the birth of country music. Many of the country artists featured here claim gospel music as a starting point and a great influence in their singing careers.

Although each of the ten cuts included is a bright and shining star by itself, three of these stars amazingly outshine the others. The brightest and most radiant is Lari White's rendition of the ever-popular "Amazing Grace." Elsewhere, John Berry tums in a blinding performance on "Blessed Assurance," and Martina McBride hits high and beautiful notes on "How Great Thou Art."

Other highlights include Paul Overstreet's version of "Mansion Over The Hilltop," "I'd Rather Have Jesus," performed by Alison Krauss and the Cox Family, and "In The Garden" sung by Susan Ashton and Billy Dean.

A portion of the royalties from this recording is being donated to the Gospel Music Foundation for education programs.