Monday, February 13, 2012

THE JACOB AUSTIN BAND - Unplugged - Renewed

Unplugged - Renewed
The Unclouded Day - The People and Their Steeple - The Love of God - The Love of God - On My Father's Side - Angel Band - He's the Wheel - Jesus Loves Me - The Wayfaring Stranger - Gitty Up Mule - If I Had Known - Down to the River to Pray - Will The Circle Be Unbroken
Wow, I was so pleased to be able to hear this Texas group at the LeMars Festival last year, young tall and lanky Jacob Austin has a terrific voice, as well as playing a terrific mandolin.  His leads are just right, and rightly just.  He also has one original song on this CD, "The People and Their Steeple" which is a great story about Christian struggle and redemption.  But, some of the very best old time traditional gospel songs are also on this terrific project.  If you like traditional country you'll love this CD.  If you love bluegrass without a strong banjo you will love this CD.  Jacob is a great singer, he sings like he means every word he is singing.  But there's much more here.  The band itself has a renewed vigor.  They added a bass by friend Randy Powell, who puts a really nice 'bottom' in the project. That puts Jacob on the mandolin at the top, Randy at the bottom in sound, dad on the 12-string guitar in the middle, and mom on the autoharp in the middle.  That's genius at work, and it comes out simply beautiful.  The Austins go to church at the little Anderson Baptist, and there's a totally beautiful drawing of a small church inside the CD flyer.  It was sketched by Terry Holliday Giltner, and it's a great piece of work.  For my ear, this is the perfect traditional acoustic sound that makes old-time gospel music sound so good.  Some really nice up-tempo songs to get into too.  No pretensions, none necessary.  No outlandish production, none necessary.  No egotistical emoting, none necessary.  I'd recommend this CD to anyone that is looking for a 'new' message from Jesus, a 'fun' message from Jesus, and certainly a 'serious' message from Jesus.  I'm a great fan of "OBrother Where Art Thou" so to hear "Angel Band" done in Jacob's style was a real treat, already one of my favorites.  One thing is sure, we will have a stage at the 37th National Old Time Country Festival in LeMars, Iowa, with Jacob Austin's name on it.  More information about that at  I also sit on the selection board for the Rural Roots Music Commission, who select CD's of the year for the Upper Midwest.  This one will have a hard time not getting selected, especially for 'Traditional Gospel of the Year."  I hope I'm not wrong about that, but my history with this fine group of people who volunteer for the Rural Roots group think pretty much the same as I do.  It's still a long ways off for festival time, but I'm putting my 'bet' on this one.  I like this album so much I had to listen to it a couple of times just to pick some favorites.  Second favorite would have to be the traditional "Wayfaring Stranger."  Mom and dad add some nice harmony on this one.  Can't wait til festival time, last year they opened for Jim Ed Brown.
Jacob Austin Band, P.O. Box 793, Anderson, TX 77830
Bob Everhart
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