Gospel songs have been an integral part of the bluegrass genre since its very first days, and within a few short years, groups appeared which devoted themselves exclusively to songs of faith delivered in bluegrass settings. In 1973, The Primitive Quartet took its place in the ranks of bluegrass gospel artists, and over the nearly 50 years that have followed, the durable group has made its way to the forefront. Known for their determinedly acoustic approach to instrumentation; their emphasis on unadorned, heartfelt singing; the depth of their contribution to the bluegrass gospel songbook, and, above all, the simple clarity of their Christian message, the Primitive Quartet have become a beloved presence at churches, festivals and gospel singing gatherings across the country.
Still, despite the breadth of their popularity, almost all of The Primitive Quartet’s music lay beyond the reach of a growing number of listeners as the distribution of music moved into the online world. To bring this deep catalog to new generations of listeners — and to keep up with a new generation of technology — Mountain Home Music Company announces the release to streaming services and digital sales platforms of the first two volumes in a groundbreaking series called Through The Years, with additional volumes to be released in the future.
Through The Years, Volume 1 and Volume 2 present over 40 selections that span some 30 years of the storied group’s recordings, ranging from acclaimed songs like “We’ve Been So Blessed,” “The Good Shepherd” (Volume 1) and “He Included Me” (Volume 2) to distinctive versions of classics like “Traveling Shoes” (Volume 1) and “How Tedious And Tasteless The Hours” (Volume 2) to a wealth of originals from Reagan Riddle and other members of the group such as “Brother John,” “When This Old Gravel Road Turns To Gold” (Volume 1), “God Is So Good To Me” and “I’m Looking Through New Eyes” (Volume 2).
When completed, the series — curated by the Crossroads Label Group’s Greg Bentley and The Primitive Quartet’s Mike Riddle — will encompass eight volumes covering nearly 40 years of historic releases, including a collection of Christmas favorites and a compilation of songs from the several live albums the group has released over the years. Rarely has such an archival exploration been directed exclusively at digital platforms, and the combination of historical interest and forward-looking accessibility serves to guarantee that not only will long-time fans of the storied group have their favorites close at hand, but that the vital musical ministry of the Primitive Quartet will be available for discovery by generations of fans yet to come.
About The Primitive Quartet
The Primitive Quartet began in 1973, when two sets of Western North Carolina brothers, Reagan and Larry Riddle and Furman and Norman Wilson, carried a guitar and mandolin with them on a fishing trip, where they discovered a love and a gift for harmony singing. With the encouragement of their parents and pastor, they began to sing together at area churches as the Riddle-Wilson Quartet. In 1978, with the decision to devote themselves to a full-time musical ministry, the group said goodbye to Furman Wilson, welcomed Reagan and Larry’s brother, Mike, into the group and renamed themselves as The Primitive Quartet. As their career developed, the Quartet added Indiana-born singer and instrumentalist Randy Fox in 1986 and, a decade later, another North Carolinian, Jeff Tolbert — first as an instrumentalist and then, with the passing of Norman Wilson in 2014, as a singer. Over the years, The Primitive Quartet has toured across the United States and overseas, recorded scores of albums, released more than a dozen videos and DVDs, and made their “Hominy Valley Singing Grounds” in Candler, North Carolina, into a popular home for gospel singing events.