Country Meets Bluegrass

Sounds Like Home (Lonesome Day Records)
Steve Gulley

By Bob Mitchell

An impressive project by any measure, Gulley's first release for Lonesome Day Records brims with a dynamic combination of traditional country and bluegrass that will be appreciated by the most demanding fan. The project serves as a showcase for Gulley's obvious passion and dedication to traditional sounds. Against a backdrop of phenomenal musical support, his heartfelt vocals take center stage from the moment the laser hits the disc. Each track is polished, professional and pleasing.

This recording launches Gulley's solo career as the powerful lead voice of Mountain Heart makes a departure from the edgy contemporary sound that has been his trademark for the last few years. If this is any indication of what we can expect in the future, Gulley's outlook continues to be bright. His vocal honesty and sensitivity cement the melody to the lyric establishing him as a songwriter's best friend. And, whether he sings one of his tunes or someone else's, he gives it all he got.

Musical highlights include a hard-driving, attention-getting "Big Rock in the Road;" a beautifully performed duet with his wife Debbie on the poignant "My Elusive Dream;" a moving gospel track, "Nearer My God To Thee," featuring Gulley's father (Don) and Doyle Lawson; a first-rate cover of the Reno and Smiley classic, "Another Day," and the sparsely accompanied "All Alone" with former band mate Barry Abernathy.

With backup like Gulley has on this recording, it is impossible to give each musician proper credit, but I was knocked out by contributions from Tim Stafford, Adam Steffy, Ron Stewart, Dale Ann Bradley, J. D. Crowe, Shawn Lane, Clay Jones, Randy Kohrs and Russell Moore. A special tip of the reviewer's hat goes to Jason Moore for extraordinary bass work.

On a five-point scale of excellence this release merits a five. This one is a winner.

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