One good thing that came out of the “lock down” during the pandemic was two very well-known artists started thinking about why they hadn’t recorded an album together! Those two artists are husband and wife Kristin Scott Benson (multi award-winning banjoist and recipient of Steve Martin Award for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo) with The Grascals and Wayne Benson (multi award-winning mandolinist) with Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. As they both have their own styles and are powerhouses in their lanes, they have put an album out that is totally unexpected.
Benson’s “Pick Your Poison” is a great invitation to enjoy instrumentals as well as contemporary bluegrass with several special guest vocalists. Among the list of guests were long-time friends Mickey Harris (Rhonda Vincent & the Rage) to sing lead and harmony, Cody Kilby (Travelin’ McCourys) provided that strong guitar sound throughout the album. Jamie Johnson (vocals), Jim VanCleve (fiddle) and Jon Weisberger (bass) along with a young stellar bass player, Paul Watson (Carley Arrowood Band), Grayson Lane, a young talented vocalist who provide lead vocals on two songs and Mountain Home’s favorite, Tony Creasman, to play some percussion on the album.
“Oh, Me of Little Faith” is a great gospel song which was sung by their worship pastor, Heath Williams. Heath is a talented vocalist that has been right under their nose. Kristin feels blessed that Heath agreed to sing three songs for them.
This album brings you songs like Jamie Johnson’s version of the “I’ll Follow The Sun” (The Beatles), “Living In These Troubled Times” (80s Crystal Gayle hit), to an early 90s Bryan White cut “Look At Me Now”. This album was brilliantly done in the opposite way than you thought it would have been done by two instrumentalists.
Each song would capture a different mood for me. My moods went from a chill relax feeling, to getting up and moving, to reminding me to have faith in our Lord and so much more. No matter what your listening pleasure is, “Pick Your Poison” captures them all.
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