Gone Gospel

Heaven Bound (Independent)

Dennis Bowling

By Bob Mitchell

As a boy, Kentuckian Dennis Bowling listened to the tight four-part harmonies of gospel music and to pass the time he sang while tending livestock and plowing fields on the family farm. As time went by, he started playing guitar and singing with The Boone's Mill Boys, a local bluegrass group that recorded an album called Time is Ticking (2003).

In the last several years Bowling has begun leaning toward Southern Gospel and Christian country, the approach used in this satisfying solo project. To further strengthen his compelling original songs, he enlisted musical support from first rate musicians including Michael Cleveland (three-time IBMA Fiddle Player of The Year), Matt Despain (currently playing Dobro with Bobby Osborne), Jerry Smith on guitar and piano, Audie McQueary on steel guitar and Jacob Clark on mandolin, to name a few.

Heaven Bound, an impressive gospel release, showcases Bowling's rich voice and eight original songs. I especially enjoyed Cleveland's bow work in "Die to Self" and "Who Gets the Victory." Despain and McQueary's remarkable contributions are amply displayed in "Thank You," while Smith's guitar and piano were especially commendable in "Blues To Praise" and "Who Gets The Victory."

Other highlights include "Train Leaving Town," an energetic song about a heaven-bound train with lyrics encouraging listeners to get on board. "Somebody to Lean On," a heartrending tune, addresses child neglect, addiction, cancer chemotherapy and loneliness in a nursing home. "Blues To Praise" is a clever, upbeat song with a reminder that in times of difficulty we can sing the blues or sing God's praises. "Blues" cites biblical stories of David, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego, all of whom faced overwhelming odds. As the song says, "They all had a reason and we wouldn't blame them if they sang the blues / But they turned it into praise and if we're in a jam than we can too." One of my favorite cuts is "Heaven Here I Come" a rocking, sometime talking song with humorous insights into how one can justify unprincipled actions.

If you enjoy Christian country you will find musical satisfaction and comforting messages in this recording. For more information go to www.dennisbowling.com