Charlottesville, VA -- Ever since Bill Monroe introduced Bluegrass music to the world in 1939, gospel and sacred music have been a big part of that tradition. Today, with the music well into its 8th decade, it is still common for performing bands to include at least one religious song as part of its live performances. And there have been countless recordings as well.
Down through the years many -- if not most—of today’s Bluegrass artists refer back fondly to memories of a simple church house where they first learned to sing with their families. This new album has been designed to bring back some of those memories, by presenting some of the finest and most enduring gospel songs, as well as spotlighting many of the notable groups and artists who have recorded for the Rebel Records label over the years.
There is a great deal of variety on this collection, from very old to very new songs, but they can all be considered classics of the genre. Two of the songs, ("Little Community Church", and "I'll Meet You in Church Sunday Morning") are songs written by Bill Monroe himself and have entered the repertoires of many Bluegrass artists. Another classic—"The Model Church"—goes back before the start of Bluegrass music itself, and became one of the most requested songsof J.D. Crowe's popular early group, The Kentucky Mountain Boys. Three Ralph Stanley songs here show some of the great variety in his work, from the rousing title song to the mournful and nostalgic a cappella "Turn Back, Turn Back". Among the newer songs are two penned by the great country songwriter Tom T. Hall, including the wonderful "They Called it a Church", as performed beautifully by Rock County, a group that included Don Rigsby, Glen Duncan and Scott Vestal. His other song here, "There's Always a Light in the Church", is sung and played by Paul Williams & The Victory Trio—one of the most popular of today's gospel groups.
"Little White Church" has always been a favorite of Mac Wiseman since his early days in music; "You Go to Your Church" is from the earliest recordings of the great brother duet, Jim & Jesse. And be sure to check out the two songs from veteran Joe Mullins' group, with Larry Sparks the guest vocalist on "Little Old Country Church House" and Rhonda Vincent's fine contribution on "We Missed You in Church Last Sunday".
Few listeners will fail to relate to the songs and messages in this collection—these are inspiring songs performed by some of the finest artists in music, and Rebel Records is proud to have preserved them and present them here!
Track List for Memories of That Old Country Church (REB-CD-8008) 2013