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Bluegrass gospel from yet another SPBGMA-nominated band, The Marksmen. Recorded live for Blue Highways TV, “Two Men Praying” tells the story of the Pharisee and the publican, who stand side-by-side in the temple, praying two drastically different prayers. Drawn from Luke 18:9-14, the song makes clear Jesus’s opinion of self-righteous religious leaders.
I’ve recently become a huge fan of the music of Jan Johansson, a North Carolinian by way of Sweden. With his radio show, “The Old Numbers”, he explores the unsung heroes of hardcore traditional bluegrass, while in his work as a performer, he’s just as skilled playing traditional grass as he is with Swedish folk songs or new acoustic music.
To get an idea of what I’m talking about, check out Jan’s YouTube channel (and his very cool cover pic with Bill Monroe).
In the meantime, here he is with Sofia Norsater, and a bluegrass gospel tune called, “I Know Whose Tears”.
Bluegrass giants Reno and Smiley justify their reputation as pioneers with this complex vocal arrangement and brother-style duet singing that’ll make you wonder whether Simon and Garfunkel ever sneaked a listen to real hillbilly music. This is a gospel tune called “Echoes From the Burning Bush”.
Live bluegrass gospel from the soulful Coal Country with an old Stanley Brothers favorite, “Purple Robe”.
There’s a story so unkind in the Holy book we find And it tells how Jesus stood alone one day False accused and there condemned yet they found no fault with Him The Man who wore the scarlet purple robe
(Chorus) Purple robe my Savior wore oh the shame for me He bore As He stood alone, forsaken on that day And they placed upon His head piercing thorns and blood stained red His raiment was a scarlet purple robe
In the common judgment hall he was mocked and scorned by all And a tear of sorrow fell upon His cheek Soldiers of the wicked man smote Him with their evil hand The Man who wore the scarlet purple robe
Words of truth that day were plain from the lips of Pilate came In this man I find no reason He should die But the multitudes replied let Him now be crucified The man who wore the scarlet purple robe
they sing in 3- and 4-oart harmony and they are here as a bonus Gospel Sunday.
during the radio show the bandleader, Jordan Burks, was talking about how he learned to play the piano at age three, and since ‘modern’ music was not allowed at home, he played the old gospel records, especially Elvis Presley’s gospel tunes. also Jerry Lee Lewis, because “you can’t be a country boy playing the piano and not idolize Jerry Lee.”
so one day when Jordan was about ten, his father invited him to the piano during the church service; said “play anything you like, son”…so Jordan began playing “Great Balls of Fire”. Jordan says “that didn’t last long. Dad put a stop to it right quick”
Bluegrass gospel from The Stanley Brothers: “Cry From the Cross”.
One morning in Jerusalem about the break of dawn A great trial was in session, they tried our blessed Lord They scorned him and they mocked him, they made him carry the cross On top of Calvary mountain, they crucified my Lord
(Chorus) Oh the cry (Jesus cried) from the cross Forgive them blessed Father, He died upon the cross Oh the cry (Jesus cried) from the cross The son of God was dying, to save the world from loss
Saint Peter he denied him at that awful trial at night He said he never knew him, it was an awful sight He looked upon Saint Peter with eyes of perfect love Saint Peter’s heart was broken, he prayed to God above
Crying “Father, it is finished” then He bowed His head and died The world was left in darkness, the graves were open wide An earthquake shook Jerusalem the dead walked into town The multitudes were frightened, God’s wrath came pouring down