Just a Closer Walk With Thee - When The Roll Is Called - Old Rugged Cross - I'll Fly Away - Softly and Tenderly - Uncloudy Day - It Is No Secret - Never Grow Old - Amazing Grace - In The Garden - What A Friend - How Great Thou Art
I just returned from the Wahoo, Nebraska, Country Music Festival, which by all standards in the music business today, is truly a very 'real' country music gathering. It is produced and directed by Roger & Sharon Kenaston, pioneers of a sort who keep country music 'country.' Their 'roots' go far back into the prairie known as the Sand Hills of Nebraska where their families homesteaded and claimed the land, and Roger the songs and music that made life more liveable and happier during those hard years of making the soil theirs. Roger took up playing the guitar when he was just a boy, and now these many years later he is without a doubt one of the best guitarists in the entire upper Midwest. He plays by ear, which means what he expresses using those six strings of an acoustic musical instrument, is what he feels in his mind, in his heart, in his hands and fingers. His wife Sharon joins him on bass and rhythm guitar on this remarkable CD they recorded for Roger's mother Arvilla. They performed some of the songs on this CD at their recent festival, and I noticed there was not a dry eye in the entire large audience that listened, including myself. Roger is able to not only capture the 'power' of the melody line of these songs, he adds his own very real personality to the 'expression' of those melody lines. His "How Great Thou Art" is without a doubt an incredibly moving piece of music. I have to say, as I listen to this remarkable presentation, that Roger Kenaston has taken the simple and beautiful rural gospel songs of the past to a symphonic level similar to the more popular classical music of the ages. Not only worth listening to, but well worth 'remembering' the wonderful rural traditions and musical heritage of our great prairie lands. Today, with the contemporary-country music 'business' obviously attempting to eliminate the 'real' country music of the great plains of America, this single CD will stand the test of time long after the demise of today's so-called 'country' music. We are already arranging a special old-time gospel program featuring this gifted guitarist at the 'National Old Time Country Music Festival' in early September in LeMars, Iowa. This CD is also obviously going to the Rural Roots Music Commission.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - www.ntcma.net
for Country Music News International Magazine