The Morning Glory Ramblers

The Morning Glory Ramblers

by Norman Blake, Nancy BlakeNorman Blake


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Norman and Nancy Blake have made 31 albums in their 30-year musical career together, and during that time the couple have maintained a high level of accomplishment, marked by the unquantifiable soul they bring to their harmonizing and picking. The utter absence of affectation in Norman's rustic voice gives his singing a plainspoken power, whereas the unadorned beauty of Nancy's conversational tone summons the spirit of Sara Carter. The ancient fare on Morning Glory Ramblers touches on eternal themes -- from struggling with pain and strife, seeking salvation, and affirming and losing love onward. "The Sunny Side of Life" paints a sepia-toned portrait of the eternal verities, while "Precious Memories (Was a Song I Used to Hear)" expresses enduring affection for departed loved ones. Eternal, abiding love for a lost sweetheart informs the poignant verses of "I Loved You Better than You Knew," and love blooming anew with the turning of the earth is the subject of "When the Roses Bloom in Dixieland." "Fame Apart from God's Approval" underscores the futility of a worldly life barren of spiritual orientation. On this strictly acoustic affair, the Blakes accompany themselves on finger- or hard-picked guitars and dobro, opting for spare arrangements that elevate the songs' messages without ever calling attention to the technical proficiency of their discreet, minimalist approach. But that's Norman and Nancy Blake in a nutshell: From their own albums to their contributions to O Brother, Where Art Thou? to their work on Johnny Cash's final recordings, they disappear into their art, and their art says it all.

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