With the announcement that he’d be retiring from the road after with his band Quicksilver in 2022, Doyle Lawson’s latest record Roundtable isn’t the work of a man past his prime. Instead, it’s a collective work (as almost all Bluegrass records are) with four of the five other members in the band (Jerry Cole, Ben James, Eli Johnston and Matt Flake) taking leads with Doyle Lawson and Ben James providing harmony. Cole plays Bass, Johnston plays Banjo, James plays Guitar while Flake plays Fiddle. Lawson plays Mandolin, Dojo and Mandola. All of these gentlemen also play guitar on the record. Fiddler Stephen Burwell is a member of the band as well and provides percussion when needed (while also remixing and mastering the recording).
Blending Bluegrass music’s fast-paced instrumentals, spirituals and traditional country balladry, Roundtable is a cohesive effort from the band. James delivers his teardrop tenor leads on songs like “You Ain’t Heard Lonesome Yet” “Every Now And Then” and “In Those Days” while Jerry Cole’s sturdy Country twang takes lead on “I’ll Take The Lonesome Every Time,” “Old Man Winter,” and “Long Time Lonesome.”
“Between The Lines” showcases a Steve Goodman song and it fits well within the baritone/trio vocal dynamic while “That Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore” is a downright hillbilly highlight. Closing out the record is their take on the classic hymn “A Little More Faith In Jesus,” performed entirely by voice with a lead vocal backed by a gospel quartet.
There’s a lot to love about Roundtable and it is a wonderful addition to Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver’s deep and storied catalog of albums.