The Secret of Life
- A Few Years Ago
- The Secret of Life
- In a Country Town
- Hands in Wood
- It Never Gets Old
- Do What the Good Book Says
- All the Way Home
- Piece at a Time
- The Deal
- I’d Write You
- Heartaches Moving In
I am presented with far more CDs than I can review, even presented with more CDs than I can listen to. I am even presented with CDs I have listened to but either could not make it through, or having made it through, never want to hear again: forgotten, tedious, mundane, run-of-the-mill, predictable, none of which are adjectives one wants applied to their CD. The Secret of Life is none of those things.
I admire songwriting, and simply thrill when songwriters spread their skills across the whole spectrum of a CD. Daryl Mosley’s skill is evident upon the first listen. A promo sheet sent to me by his publicist listed many awards for songwriting. His songwriting is not a fluke. It has been tried and tested, and with The Secret of Life, we are presented with an entire portfolio of his work. Of the eleven songs in The Secret of Life, nine were penned outright by Mosley, with another two sharing co-writer credits, one with Rick Lang and other with The Grascal’s Danny Roberts.
Mosely has some serious word-weaving skills to bring out a story in song, particularly in the title cut, The Secret of Life, and In a Country Town, Hands in Wood, and A Piece at a Time. The Secret of Life is a feel good song advising the listener that life is just where you find it. In a Country Town captures the feeling of life in the rural route and all the things those who choose such a life see as blessings which some perceive as drawbacks. Hands in Wood is an outstanding treatise on making a living with your hands and forging out a life for yourself and your family by the skills you bring to your work.
I liked all the songs on the CD. The Deal was a little dark for me, but others may find in it their own Secret of Life. My toe was fairly well tapping as I got to In a Country Town. The recording, mixing, and mastering were so smooth, I took the CD out of my laptop and hustled over to my studio PC. I fired it up loud on my Mackie HR824 monitors. If there was any harshness, those monitors would reveal it. I smiled because there was none. I turned it up louder and louder, until the walls were shaking: just smooth. That’s the way I like it. I tip my hat to producers Mosely and Roberts, Gorilla’s Nest Studio, in Ashland City, TN, , and Audio Engineer Chris Latham. A couple of times I thought the fiddle was a bit too far back in the mix, but that is a matter of personal taste. All in all, it is a great piece of work.
The CD does not list a banjo player, but two mandolin players, co-producer Danny Roberts being one, and Aaron McDaris being the other. I scrambled around to find out who the banjoist was, and saw on the promo sheet sent to me that it was McDaris. I do not know if McDaris also played the mandolin on this CD, but I enjoyed it (Roberts?) I particularly enjoyed the banjo playing. While there is the school in Bluegrass music that subscribes to the concept of the constantly driving banjo, I did not attend that school. While McDaris drove right on through a couple of tunes, he does so impeccably. I thoroughly enjoyed his work. I also enjoyed the backup runs on Tony Wray’s guitar. The sound of the guitar and the dobro, together, on It Never Gets Old had a delightful understated strength. Understated strength is a good thing since it lets our own minds inhabit the music and pull from our own experiences, which makes for a song that touches us personally. I think It Never Gets Old is my favorite song on the CD; the close duet harmonies are just perfect. I’d Write You is a hot-on-its-heels second.
Do What the Good Book Says just re-queued itself on my CD player. My toe is tapping.
I like that. Congratulations, Pinecastle and Daryl Mosely!
Mississippi Chris Sharp