Pure and Simple
Now entering his sixth decade as a gospel performer and songwriter, Bill Gaither shows no signs of slowing down. Pure and Simple finds the current lineup of his vocal quintet covering a mixed bag of sanctified favorites by Gaither and other composers. This time out, production values are toned down in favor of acoustic guitars, fiddles, and mandolins, highlighting the group’s flawless vocal blend. Gaither, Michael English, Mark Lowry, Wes Hampton, and David Phelps deliver these tunes with an easy confidence matched with a commitment to the material's redemptive message. Standout tracks include an aching take on Mindy Smith’s “Come to Jesus,” a smoothly upbeat rendition of Amos Lee’s “Cup of Sorrow,” and an eerie yet beautiful interpretation of Sonya Isaacs’ “I’ll Pray for You.” Phelps contributes the moody “Fool’s Gold,” with Gaither leading his group in a soulful version of his classic “The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference.” The bluesy swing of “Rumormill” and the old-time gospel jump of “Rasslin’ Jacob” add dashes of extra energy. Pure and Simple captures Gaither and his group unplugged and uplifted.