Black Music Matters Festival

Claire Lynch

Silver and Gold – 1997 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

CDs by Claire Lynch

Claire Lynch's name has been familiar to serious bluegrass fans and Nashville insiders for years;. Following an early career with the Alabama-based Front Porch String Band, she gained a rep as an outstanding backup vocalist and songwriter in the studios of Music City. This disc follows her well-received 1995 all-gospel album, "Friends For A Lifetime." Backed this time by the latest edition of the Front Porch String Band, Lynch delivers a winning combination of fine singing, hot picking and strong material drawn from the country well, including four songs written or co-written by Lynch herself.

The sound is built on the solid foundation of Missy Raines's aggressive yet tasteful upright bass, with banjoist Michael McLain, lead guitarist Jim Hurst and mandolin player Larry Lynch applying everything from straight-ahead bluegrass to sophisticated jazzy stylings. From the driving bluegrass arrangement of Gretchen Peters's "If Wishes Were Horses" to the swing of the Kostas co-written "I'm Goin' Up" to the devastating tale of youthful desperation in "Out Among The Stars," the band - abetted by fiddler Glen Duncan and occasional drums from Pat McInerny - invariably provides exactly the right setting for the jewel that is Lynch's voice.