Voice of the Spirit, Gospel of the South

Voice of the Spirit, Gospel of the South



This project began as an exploration of traditional Appalachian gospel songs, the kind of territory that A.P. Carter and the Carter Family made their own when they started their recording career in the '20s, but as the sessions went on, the focus expanded until Voice of the Spirit, Gospel of the South ended up a more general survey of a variety of Southern gospel approaches as seen through the eyes of contemporary country, gospel, and bluegrass artists. The Carter Family starting point was no accident, though, since the producer here is John Carter Cash, who just happens to be the son of June Carter and Johnny Cash, placing him well in the line of legacy. John Carter Cash coaxed Johnny into the studio in June of 2003 to track a song for the project, "Uncloudy Day," which ended up being not only the one song Johnny Cash recorded after June died, but was the last song he was to record at all. As such, "Uncloudy Day" is a particularly simple, direct, and unadorned capstone to a remarkable career. Cash's vocal, sounding fragile in spots, is made even more poignant for being his last, but there is a certainty in its timbre that makes the song sound ultimately (if heartbreakingly) hopeful. Another clear highlight is Mavis Staples' (with help on guitar from Marty Stuart) stark and bluesy version of "Twelve Gates to the City," but arguably the two most striking tracks are a pair of songs written by George Washington Phillips, "Denomination Blues" and "What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?" Phillips, a zither-playing blues preacher who recorded in the late '20s, possessed an uncanny ability to write songs that unwound with almost conversational melody lines, and his sung sermons were as much or more meditations on his personal philosophy as they were exercises in accepted religious dogma. Rodney Crowell's version here of "Denomination Blues" and Vince Gill's take on "What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?" both retain the flow and feel of the original recordings, while managing as well to make the songs speak in a contemporary context. And that, in the end, is the strength of Voice of the Spirit, Gospel of the South, for these are old songs that continue to have a spiritual and political utility. They can only fail us if we forget them.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/04/2006
Label: Dualtone Music Group
UPC: 0803020122826
catalogNumber: 1228

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Del McCoury   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Tony Rice   Acoustic Guitar
Earl Scruggs   Acoustic Guitar
Marty Stuart   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin
Mac Wiseman   Vocals
Johnny Cash   Vocals
Rodney Crowell   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Connie Smith   Vocals
Larry Gatlin   Vocals
Jesse McReynolds   Mandolin
Mark Howard   Acoustic Guitar
John Cowan   Bass,Vocals
Steve Cox   Piano
Vince Gill   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Tony Harrell   Piano
Jamie Hartford   Mandolin
Ronnie McCoury   Mandolin,Vocals
Larry Perkins   Acoustic Guitar,Acoustic Bass
Randy Scruggs   Acoustic Guitar
Mavis Staples   Vocals
Brian Sutton   Acoustic Guitar
Richard Wallace   Musician
Jon Randall   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Willie Joe Ligon   Musician
Michael Cook   Musician
Mark Fain   Acoustic Bass,Upright Bass
Chalmers Alford   Acoustic Guitar
Tom Britt   Acoustic Guitar
Ron Staples   Musician
John Carter Cash   Acoustic Guitar,Autoharp
Paul T. Kwami   Piano,Musical Direction
Laura Cash   Acoustic Guitar,Fiddle,Vocals,Background Vocals
Jessi Alexander   Vocals
Brandon Colvin   Musician
Dante Pope   Musician
Kawana Nicole Williams   Musician
Jihan Murray Smith   Musician
Terrance Nathaniel Pogue   Musician
Yvonne Stockdale   Musician
Wesley Ronald Trigg   Musician
Kyle G. Twaites   Musician
Ervin Morrice Williams   Musician

Technical Credits

Earl Scruggs   Arranger
Carl Story   Composer
Rodney Crowell   Arranger
Mighty Clouds of Joy   Arranger
A.P. Carter   Composer
Vince Gill   Arranger
Randy Scruggs   Arranger
Mavis Staples   Arranger
William York   Composer
Jon Randall   Arranger
Wayne Brezinka   Art Direction,Illustrations
John Carter Cash   Producer,Liner Notes,Art Direction
Chuck Turner   Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Mark Petaccia   Engineer
Jessi Alexander   Arranger

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