Album Review of
Long Time Coming

Written by Joe Ross
February 8, 2016 - 12:00am EST
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The members of David Parmley & Continental Divide have plenty of bluegrass experience under their belts with groups like the Bluegrass Cardinals, Lost & Found, Easter Brothers, and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Originally from Los Angeles, guitarist/vocalist Parmley began playing pro at age 17 with his father in the Bluegrass Cardinals. In 1993, he moved to Nashville to pursue a solo career in country music. In 1994, “David Parmley, Scott Vestal & Continental Divide” formed to journey into progressive bluegrass. If my memory serves me right, Harley Allen, Aubrey Haynie, Mike Anglin and later Jimmy Bowen, Rickie Simpkins and Randy Kohrs were members too. In 1998, the band re-organized into what we know them as today with the emphasis back to more traditional, gospel and some original material. That is clearly their forte, and “Long Time Coming” includes some former Cardinals in the lineup (Randy Graham on mandolin, Dale Perry on banjo, Barry Berrier onbass) along with the hot fiddling of Steve Day, a Kentucky state champion fiddler. "Where Rainbows Touch Down” has Mike Hartgrove’s fiddles in the mix.

David Parmley has smooth and distinctive lead vocals. Randy Graham sings all the tenor parts on the recording. This is the first recording that David and Randy have made together since the early 90s when they recorded “What Have You Done For Him,” the last project cut by the original three Bluegrass Cardinals (Randy Graham, Don and David Parmley).  Parmley had a hand in composing three original songs, his father Don wrote “Where the Sweetwater Flows,” and Randy Graham penned a gospel number, “Get Right or Get Left.” Also included are two songs from a favorite songwriter they often cover, Randall Hylton, with “Lee Berry Rye” and “Where Rainbows Touch Down.” They chose to include them because they were previously recorded by the Cardinals on albums now out of print, and the band gets many requests for them.

The band’s “new favorite songwriter” is Robert Gately who contributed three songs (“More Than I Can Bear,” “Done Gone,” and “Katy Hill”). The former opens the album with a driving bluegrass bang. The latter closes the project with a more leisurely ballad about love and life that evolves into the hoedown of the same name. What becomes immediately apparent is that the group can present contemporary material that immediately evokes the same feelings and emotions that much older traditional material does. They have captured the essence of traditional bluegrass, and as they say in their personal appearances, “if that ain't a bluegrass song, a pig ain't pork!”  (Joe Ross)