Review of Love’s Lasting Light from The Old Time Herald,
Volume 8, Number 2, Winter 2002, pages 32 and 33.

Paul & Win Grace Love’s Lasting Light 
Wellspring CD4906

This CD, Paul and Win Grace's sixth recording, reminds me of their last duet effort, Fifty Miles of Elbow Room, recorded back in 1987. They are back to their old instrumental combinations and back to much more traditional material. Their vocals and harmonies have matured and are as strong as ever. Old-time music fans will enjoy the fiddle tunes and the old songs.

The quality of the recording is excellent. The mix is professionally done and sounds great. The liner notes are extensive. Paul and Win have documented their sources very well.

The material ranges from a Bonnie Prince Charlie tune, "The Roses of Prince Charlie" to old standards like "Nellie Bly" which has the classic Paul and Win sound from years ago, to more modern material by the likes of Bill Staines and Robin and Linda Williams, and humorous songs.

Old-time music fans will love "Shady Grove," the major version from the Volo Bogtrotters. Paul and Win play for old-time dances in their neck of the woods in Missouri. It's a strong, exciting string-band sound.

Paul and Win always have a few surprises, such as "I Sit Beside the Fire," a J.R.R. Tolkien poem, from the Fellowship of the Ring, set to music by Don Leady. Win sings lead and plays autoharp. Paul sings harmony and plays guitar. One of my favorite cuts on this CD is "Durang's Hornpipe"/"Little Dutch Girl ' because of Paul's fine fiddling. Win started out on piano as a child and she accompanies him in the contra dance style here.

After hearing all the Patsy Montana wannabes in yodeling contests over the years, I wasn't really looking forward to another version of "Cowboy's Sweetheart" but Paul adds a harmony yodel and the whole song moves along in a stately way. Win's accordion is perfect on this country swing-style song.

Paul & Win have been playing Little House on the Prairie music now and then over the years. "Wait for the Wagon" is a very old song that actually goes back to the pre-Civil War minstrel era. Paul's lead singing is perfect for this song. We are taken into a rural parlor with Paul's fiddle and Win's accordion, which sounds like an old foot-pumped reed organ, on another of my favorites "Come Thou Font of Every Blessing." "Farewell My Friends" was written by Ellie when she was 17. Cathy Barton and Dave Para add their harmonies to those of the Grace family and the sound will make the hair stand up on your neck.

There is much more traditional material on this recording than there has been on their last two CDs with their daughters Leela and Ellie. Paul and Win have that uncanny ability to find songs and tunes and get them worked up into good solid musical performances.

It's fun to listen to Win play accordion. I've known these folks for years (is it decades already?) and when I first saw them perform, Win was the only person I knew who was playing piano accordion in a folk or old-time group. Here in the upper Midwest, accordions are used in polka bands or by solo performers who play old songs in family settings. Win was using it for melody and bass in old-time fiddle tunes. Her accordion leads are smooth and natural; her autoharp style is a clean pinch, thumblead or cross-picked. I like her autoharp backup, a kind of mandolin-style chop: Paul's performances on guitar, fiddle and mandolin are seasoned and sure. His fiddling is strong and rhythmic. You get it all with Paul and Win--great singing and wonderful instrumentals.


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