I have hardly had a chance to catch my breath over Daryl Mosley’s release last year, The Secret of Life, which got my attention. I reviewed that CD for this magazine (found here: https://thebluegrassstandard.com/daryl-mosley-the-secret-of-life/). Just now beginning to catch up on my breathlessness, Mosley has a new CD slated for release in November 2021. Bring out the oxygen. I’m likely to need it.
Let’s start here: This new Mosley CD, Small Town Dreamer, is an important work: a musical event, a trip back home, an exhortation, a few lamentations, an exultation, a restoration. Mosley gives us twelve original songs. If the songwriting Mosley were a pitcher in the major leagues, he would be the 1934 version of the St. Louis Cardinals’ Dizzy Dean. That is saying something.
I like all twelve songs, but what’s not to like? Mosley is a major songwriter, crafting songs that speak right to one’s heart with soothing melodies and poignant lyrics. Those songs are:
- Transistor Radio
- Hillbilly Dust
- The Last of His Kind
- Bringing Simple Back
- He’s With Me
- The Waverly Train Disaster
- You Are The Reason
- I Can’t Go Home Anymore
- The Way I was Raised
- Mama’s Bible
- Here’s To The Dreamers
- Sing Me A Song About A Train
It’s gonna be tough to separate the favorites from the rest. My favorites list, subject to change with every listen, depends on my inclinations at the time or whatever song is playing at the moment. My current favorites are “Transistor Radio,” “Hillbilly Dust,” “The Way I was Raised,” and “The Last Of His Kind.” Reluctantly sorting out four songs does not mean that the others are any the less; rather, they speak to me in this instant. As I write this, “Sing Me A Song About A Train” is a pleasant earworm, partially because it was the last song on the CD and partially because it thumped all the way through. I’m thankful for that since the Captain and Tennille’s “Muskrat Love” got stuck in my head a few weeks back for some unfathomable reason, which caused me to go for counseling.
I was still grooving on “Transistor Radio,” a cleverly crafted song and the one picked for a single, meaning that the label thinks this is the one to go straight to the charts (and so do I). Before the joy of that song passed, Mosley smote me with “Hillbilly Dust,” which spoke directly to my soul; the drop D guitar just slapped me to attention as I heard echoes of everything important in a man’s successful life. How can one not like that? “I give Him the hours, the labor, and the trust, and He gives life to this hillbilly dust.” I suspect that every songwriter that ever lived would admire this line. I sure do.
Mosley and Co-Producer Danny Roberts (Grascals) assembled a stellar team of musicians, including Roberts on mandolin, Tony Wray on guitar and banjo, Aaron Daniels on banjo, Adam Haynes on fiddle, Justin Moses on dobro, Jaelee Roberts, and Jeanette Williams on harmony vocals, and Mosley on bass…all top shelf. Salute to Gorilla’s Nest Studio on the recording and Chris Latham on the mastering. This recording has the sound of everything I like and none of what I don’t.
Small Town Dreamer has a poignant dedication to Mosley’s hometown of Waverly, Tennessee, which suffered from severe flooding in August of this year, resulting in the deaths of many people. No doubt this touched Mosley. It touched us all.
I don’t keep up with what songs are on the Bluegrass charts, but this CD will produce more than one chart-topper, I think, for those of you who are inclined to such things.
The CD is playing in the background as I write this. “You Are Reason” is up right now. I must stop, as I am tempted to add this to the favorites list, too. Oops! “I Can’t Go Home Anymore” is up. Tempted! There is nothing on this CD that disappoints. I expected it to be good, but it is far better than I expected. In this world filled with madness and mediocrity, and compromise; that is quite refreshing.
Small Town Dreamer. You’ll want this. You’ll like it, too.
Oh, gee whiz. “Mama’s Bible” is up. I gotta go.
The favorites list will just get longer.