Doyle Lawson - The Hard Game of Love

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
The Hard Game of Love

(Sugar Hill)

First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2002, Volume 9, #11

Written by John Metzger


Doyle Lawson has been touring on the bluegrass circuit for nearly forty years, and during that time he performed with such esteemed artists as J.D. Crowe, Red Allen, and the Country Gentlemen. In 1977, Lawson recorded his first solo album, and two years later, he formed Quicksilver, a revolving group of musicians that has graced his albums ever since. More recently, Lawson and Quicksilver has focused on gospel music instead of bluegrass, but for his latest release The Hard Game of Love, he reverts back to his roots and, in the process, sounds reinvigorated. As has become the band’s trademark — after all, it is the International Bluegrass Music Association’s reigning Vocal Group of the Year — the album is full of exquisitely tight harmonies wrapped around some rather fierce picking. Some of the highlights — and there are many — include a scorching cover of John D. Loudermilk’s Blue Train (of the Heartbreak Line), a stirring rendition of Poor Boy Working Blues, the spirited instrumental Oak Ridge Rendezvous, and the gleeful, broken-heart tune A Thing of the Past. There are a few spots in which The Hard Game of Love goes astray by becoming too slick, thereby undermining the band’s fiery passion. Overall, however, Lawson’s first secular recording in six years turns out to have been well worth the wait. starstarstar ˝

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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2002 The Music Box