Steven Curtis Chapman isn’t looking to reinvent the wheel with Deeper Roots: Where the Bluegrass Grows. Rather, as the title suggests, it is an homage to the bluegrass history of Kentucky and the Chapman family — similar to the original, 2013 Cracker Barrel exclusive, Deep Roots. The presence of Ricky Skaggs on the album really cements it in true bluegrass form with one of the genre's biggest names. From front to back, the project is filled with reimagined covers of Chapman's previous work and classic hymns with only a couple original tracks.
What this outing lacks in groundbreaking innovation however, it makes up for by the comfort and joy provided to the listener in a sort of “chicken soup for the soul” style presentation of familiar melodies and themes. The few new additions that are offered flow well with the rest of the album both sonically and thematically. A listen all the way through provides a warm and safe experience — both a sense of familiarity for the listener, and creative safety.
It would have been nice to see more risks taken with the bluegrass renditions of the classic material, but those influences are so present in Chapman’s work naturally that the majority of the album doesn’t come across as very much of a stretch. No single part of the album stands out as poor, though, either. There are great tracks to be found here, such as the duet with Rascal Flatts’ Gary Levox, “‘Til the Blue,” but taken in full, the album isn’t particularly noteworthy. While the choice to avoid any major risks feels intentional, it is at least a little bit disappointing.
Deeper Roots is a good album. There is plenty to like here if you have an affinity for Steven Curtis Chapman or this genre. Respect is given to every rendition of the historical tracks picked for the record, and it all comes together for a cohesive adventure. Don’t expect any surprises or twists, but if you are looking for an easy listen that goes down smoothly, there is joy to be had Where the Bluegrass Grows.- Review date: 3/21/19, written by Michael Knipp of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: None (SCSEE Music)
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