CD: Lost Radio Rounders’ “Hard Trials”

October 15th, 2015, 10:00 am by Greg

Lost Radio Rounders
Hard Trials
(Lost Radio Rounders, 2015)

Review by Greg Haymes

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The original name of the vintage Americana duo of Tom Lindsay and Michael Eck was Gospel Train, and this album finds Lost Radio Rounders once again leaning more toward the gospel end of the musical spectrum.

“In late 2014, my mother was seriously ill,” Lindsay explains. “Lost Radio Rounders decided to stop gigging for a while. When I had time, Michael and I began tracking songs for our first full length studio album. The songs I chose for the project reflected what my mom, her friends, and the whole Lindsay family had on our minds during that period. After my mother passed in January of 2015, the partially completed album lay dormant for months. Finally, Michael reminded me that it was time we finished the job.”

Featuring such songs as “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” “In My Time of Dying,” “I Wouldn’t Mind Dying” and “What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?,” the resulting album delves in the themes of mortality and loss, hard times and tribulations that face us all. But far from being maudlin, the album is surprisingly comforting and uplifting.

Reflecting the strength and solace that come from family, friends and faith in times of hard trials, the album became something of a family affair with Lindsay’s father Allen Lindsay contributing a short Bible recitation, while Eck’s daughter Lillierose Ruby-Eck adds a solo violin intro to “I Am a Pilgrim.”

The collection of 15 songs covers the bases from Saturday night blues (“Sign of Judgement”) to Sunday morning spirituals (“That’s All Right”), along with Shaker songs (“Fall On the Rock”), hymns (“No, Not One”) and folk favorites (the album-closing “Freight Train”).

With this album, Lost Radio Rounders have also expanded their usual stringed instrumentation (guitar, mandolin, dobro) with quite a number of songs that feature Lindsay on piano… and even a bit of organ on “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms.” They’ve also gone the other way, too, stripping away the instrumentation completely for Eck’s a cappella rendition of “Six Feet of Earth Makes Us All of One Size.”

When you turn to music to help soothe and heal a troubled soul, this album will do the trick…

Lost Radio Rounders will celebrate the release of “Hard Trials” with a concert at the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church in Guilderland. They will be joined by special guests Amaal Yehia (vocals), Don McGrory (slide guitar) and Ted Hennessey (harmonica). Admission is FREE: donations to the Guilderland Interfaith Council Food Pantry are welcome.