Review of Love's Lasting Light from Sing Out!

Vol. 45 #2 * Summer 2001* pages 124 & 125

PAUL AND WIN GRACE Love's Lasting Light 
Wellspring 4906

After 26 years of making music together, and 24 of those in marriage, Paul and Win Grace have created a recording focusing on the many aspects of love. They joke in the preface notes that they had many discussions over various parts of this recording and they even snickered over the chosen title. The end result is a heartwarming CD featuring family and friends.

Paul and Win perform and record with their two daughters, Leela and Ellie Grace, and are joined by good friends Cathy Barton and Dave Para. Much of the charm of Love's Lasting Light lies in the instrumentation. Paul plays fiddle, mandolin, guitar and harmonica while Win offers autoharps, piano accordion and piano. Their daughters add mandolin and banjo and the whole clan sings. The generous 17 selections feature songs and tunes from such diverse sources as Bill Staines, Robin and Linda Williams, Patsy Montana, J.R.R. Tolkien and Stephen Foster. Toss in a half dozen or so traditional tunes and you have a varied program sure to please any listener.

Some highlights on Love’s Lasting Light include the classic "Hideaway," an adaptation of the old Ozark tune "Methodist Pie," by Oscar Ford. It's a delightful song filled with gospel imagery and an infectious vocal chorus. The pairing of A. P. Carter's "Wildwood Flower" with Robin and Linda's "High Atmosphere" is the perfect combination of a classic tune and a new one destined to become a classic. The traditional standard "Shady Grove" is given a lively treatment as the instrumentation includes mandolin, fiddle and accordion. Perhaps the most unusual selection on the recording is the musical setting by Don Leady of the poem recited by Bilbo in J.R.R. Tolkien's classic Fellowship Of The Ring. It's a song dedicated to the traveler who never quits the journey until it's completed. "Durang's Hornpipe" with the fiddle tune set to a piano accompaniment is an unusual arrangement for this contest classic. It allows for the true hornpipe quality to shine through. "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing" with its fiddle and accordion accompaniment, two instruments that were easily transported, sounds much as it may have on the prairie during the Westward Migration early on a beautiful Sunday morning. "Ida Red" also takes on a prairie feel with the accordion, fiddle, banjo and mandolin supporting energetic vocals in a joyous rendition of this old-time chestnut. The recording closes with "Farewell My Friends" a song written by daughter Ellie and dedicated to all the musicians they have met in their travels across North America. It's the perfect closing selection on this delightful recording detailing the many aspects of love. 
                                                                                       -- Tom Druckenmiller

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