The Farm Hands - Better Than I Deserve
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Better Than I Deserve (Pinecastle, 2015)

The Farm Hands

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

The Farm Hands is a fairly new band (four years old) comprised of bluegrass veterans. Guitarist Keith Tew played in Rhonda Vincent's band, toured with Vassar Clements, and his songs have been recorded by Lou Reid and the Lonesome River Band. Daryl Mosely (bass) has written several number one songs and been nominated for SPBGMA's Entertainer, Male Vocalist and Songwriter of the Year awards. His friend, Tim Graves, is an eight-time winner of SPBGMA's Dobro Player of the Year award, who spent several years with Wilma Lee Cooper and the Osborne Brothers. He's also teamed up with band mate Bennie Boling (banjo) in several versions of the band Cherokee going back to 1981. Boling is also a successful songwriter with songs recorded by Gene Watson and The Oak Ridge Boys.

With all of this talent in one bus, you expect great music, and they deliver. Tew composed "Mama Prayed and Daddy Plowed," a story about growing up in a hard-working, dirt farmer family. It was a hard life centered around God, family and work. Mosley contributes two songs. "Better than I Deserve" is an unusual a capella number that starts out as a solo then adds a variety of percussive sound effects and a background quartet of Mike Reid, Bruce Dees, Lisa Silver and Nick DeStefano, all top-drawer performers. It's not Jimmy Martin, but it works. "The Way That I Was Raised" touts being raised with manners and morals. It shows off the band's talents as pickers.

Their gospel tracks are excellent. Boling co-wrote "He's Got An Answer for Everything," a number that features the fiddle work of guest Jason Roller, while "Over In The Gloryland" is an old gospel number that's been recorded many times. "Streets of Gold" is a beautiful song about the heavenly home of the faithful. They also reach out to the country side with Jerry Reed's "Talk About the Good Times" and Merle Haggard's "The Way It Was In '51," a song that will bring back some memories for older fans.

Their experience and accolades are not empty promises. They've put together good singing, good picking and good arrangements.


CDs by The Farm Hands

Colors, 2017 Dig in the Dirt, 2016 Better Than I Deserve, 2015


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