The Farm Hands - Dig in the Dirt
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Dig in the Dirt (Pinecastle, 2016)

The Farm Hands

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

The Farm Hands are an experienced band that make for good bluegrass. Led by Daryl Mosley (vocals and bass) and Tim Graves (vocals and Dobro), they mix bluegrass, near-country and gospel. They have won multiple awards and, at the 2016 SPGMA music awards, Mosley was named songwriter of the year, Graves was Dobro player of the year and the band took the awards for Bluegrass Gospel Group and Bluegrass Vocal Group. That raised expectations, and listeners won't be disappointed.

They cover the late Betty Sue Perry's "A Medal For Mothers." Perry was the older sister of Loretta Lynn and penned a number of country hits. The Farm Hands cover great songwriter Leon Payne's "Selfishness Of Man," (as titled on the CD; the actual title is "The Selfishness In Man") recorded previously by Bobby Osborne, Doyle Lawson and a 1965 George Jones hit. Both songs play as well in bluegrass as country. Songs like these never get old, and they do a great job on both.

Keith Tew, the band's guitar player and vocalist, has played with Rhonda Vincent, and his songs have been recorded by several great bands. He contributed the title song, a number about making your way through life, country style. This song is a good example of their good harmony singing as well as their instrumental work. You can hear why Graves has won SPGMA's Dobro player of the year so many times (nine and counting) and Tew shows his ability as a guitarist. Rounding out the band is Bennie Boling playing banjo and Kimberly Bibb on fiddle.

Mosley, composer of the southern gospel hit "Ask the Blind Man (He Saw It All)," adds "I Would," a moralistic number about making the right choices in life, and "All The Way Home," an excellent song about life and who to trust as you make your journey. They only fall off the bluegrass track once, with Tew's "It's The Love." This is too much new country to meld with bluegrass even with acoustic instruments backing it.

Despite that, listen to the closing track, "I Saw The Light," with the great instrumental work and harmony as good as you'll hear in bluegrass, and you'll be sold on The Farm Hands.

CDs by The Farm Hands

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

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