Review: Ron Block & Jeff Taylor – Trouble Go Down

ronblockjefftaylorDusting off a hymnal full of ancient songs and mixing their arrangements with new (and old) hymns and some original songs is exactly what 14-time Grammy award winning guitarist and banjo player Ron Block (Alison Krauss & Union Station) and Jeff Taylor (The Time Jumpers) had in mind for this joint super-collaboration titled Trouble Go Down. The two artists met several years prior at Billy Graham’s Cove convention center in North Carolina where they were asked by Buddy Greene to perform impromptu for guests as they arrived. The experience was so enjoyable for both that it was agreed they should record the songs for a joint effort that would become Ron’s sixth release and the collaborative pair’s debut.

Ron Block should be familiar to nearly the entire planet as a member of the Folk/Bluegrass supergroup Alison Krauss & Union Station where he contributed banjo, guitar, vocals and songwriting. Multi-instrumentalist Jeff Taylor’s list of accomplishments and career highlights (like Ron Block’s) are too numerous to detail here. But he counts his two years as band leader at the legendary Ryman Auditorium, many years as music director at the Opry Theme park and countless performances with country music royalty like George Strait, Vince Gill, Martina Mcbride, Dolly Parton and a featured spot on Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder’s Grammy winning album instrumentals, as career highlights.

The songs of Trouble Go Down are gorgeous. The instrumental tracks ebb and flow around great featured vocals from familiar artist friends like CCM Singer/songwriter Ellie Holcomb (daughter of CCM mega-producer Brown Bannister), Suzanne Cox (The Cox Family), Skye Peterson (daughter of Andrew Peterson) and Ron himself. There’s a peaceful tranquility to this album that will definitely appeal to an audience extending far beyond the reaches of Ron’s Country and Bluegrass faithful. As a music lover, there’s not too many things more enjoyable than two artists, absolute masters of their craft, working together and creating something that just defies explanation. Jeff Taylor’s piano work stands out especially on songs like “I Am Hidden Away In The Bosom of Christ”, “He Leadeth Me” and even the brief 30 second interlude/nod to “Oh How I Love Jesus”, but the combination of Jeff’s piano and Ron’s 1938 Martin D28 together, is simply breathtaking.

“His Love Will Bear You On” also features a collective of familiar artist friends providing backing vocals. Voices include Buddy Greene, Andrew Peterson, Randall Goodgame, Jill Phillips, Andy Gullahorn and Andrew Osenga, among others.

Richard Macdonald, a modern artist and sculptor has said that “Art transcends all human boundaries. It is a gift of almost inexplicable, magical energy. When our hearts, through our senses are touched by art, our lives are enhanced.”

This is a definite must have for anyone that simply enjoys music. As a peaceful end to stressful days or a tranquil backdrop to early morning quiet times, Trouble Go Down will not disappoint.

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