Chris Stuart,
Angels of Mineral Springs
(Backcountry, 2002)

The best description of Chris Stuart and his songwriting talent can only be "phenomenal!" After hearing some of his songs performed by Claire Lynch ("Paul and Peter Walked," "God Spoke His Name" and "Thibodeau's My Name"), Suzanne Thomas ("Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts"), and Sally Jones ("Saro"), I was immediately struck with the awesome storytelling behind his creations.

Now, after listening to his own wonderful project, Angels of Mineral Springs, which encompasses bluegrass, country and acoustic music, there is no doubt that Stuart is one of most attention-capturing songwriters out there. He has taken his experience from years of bluegrass music and put it whole-heartedly into this recording -- making the listener pay attention to the stories in each song and making them nod in respect to the skillful instrumentation and vocal abilities of each person on this CD.

Starting off with a lovely melody of a later a cappella number, "Desert Lullaby," Stuart captures the listener right off with its lonesome, beautiful sound. Following that is "Springhill Mine," which offers a haunting story of a miner awakened by his daughter after a horrible dream that he would perish in the mines. The rest of Angels of Mineral Springs continues giving great songs, performances and the kind of real music that is so often lacking in the music industry today.

I cannot foresee anyone being disappointed with anything on this heartfelt project and highly recommend it to anyone interested in listening to songs created by a man who knows bluegrass and knows how to lay the songs before his listeners and give them the sense that they are embedded in the stories themselves.

- Rambles
written by Paulette Isaacs
published 28 February 2004

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