On the 10th volume of the Country Faith Bluegrass series (out Sept. 17 via Billy Blue Records), the stacked four-piece of Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle, Jerry Salley, and Bradley Walker back one of the most universally loved and spiritually uplifting voices from any genre, Dolly Parton, on a grassed-up version of familiar hymn "In the Sweet By and By."
Salley produced the 14-song collection, while Deborah Evans Price, author of the book Country Faith, is the album series' executive producer.
"When Deborah Evans Price and I first sat down to put together a 'wish list' of the artists we would love to have on the new Country Faith Bluegrass album, Dolly was at the very top!" Salley told People. "So, I reached out to my dear friend, Tom Rutledge, at Dolly's office to see if she might consider recording a new track for the project. When she found out that many of her friends would be included on the album, she kindly agreed."
Salley transformed a demo of Parton singing the type of song she would've learned as a child in East Tennessee into a fully realized example of bluegrass gospel.
"As I was producing the project in 2020 (during the pandemic), Dolly preferred not to venture out to the studio but graciously offered to send me a never-before-released vocal of her singing the gospel standard, 'In The Sweet By and By,'" Salley told People. "With one guitar accompanying the vocal, and told me I could take it and do whatever I wanted to with it as long as it met her final approval, of course.
"I took the original guitar off the track and literally arranged and built a full bluegrass band around her beautiful vocal, double-timing the tempo after the first chorus, and then adding myself, along with friends Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle, and Bradley Walker to sing the harmony vocals as a bluegrass quartet reminiscent of an acoustic Jordanaires," Salley added.
A different recording of "In the Sweet By and By" appear on Parton's 1999 gospel collection Precious Memories. A Celtic-tinged arrangement featuring Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh of the Irish band Altan can be heard on the 2001 bluegrass album Little Sparrow.
Country Faith Bluegrass Tracklist
1. "All Prayed Up" - Vince Gill from the album All Prayed Up (Vince Gill)
2. "In the Sweet By and By" - Dolly Parton with Cordle, Jackson, Salley & Walker (Bennett / Webster)
3. "Shall We Gather at the River" - Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (R. Lowry)
4. "Will There Be Any Stars?" - Alison Krauss & The Cox Family from the album I Know Who Holds Tomorrow (E. Hewitt / J. Sweeney)
5. "My Future Ain't What It Used to Be" - Marty Raybon & Jerry Salley (Dianne Wilkinson / Jerry Salley)
6. "By the Mark" - Dailey & Vincent from the album Dailey & Vincent (David Rawlings / Gillian Welch)
7. "Working on a Building" - Dale Ann Bradley ft. The Isaacs (A.P. Carter)
8. "I'm Bound for the Land of Canaan" - The Del McCoury Band from the album The Promised Land (Albert E. Brumley)
9. "Rank Strangers" - Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers (Albert E. Brumley)
10. "Daniel Prayed "- Patty Loveless & Ricky Skaggs from the album Mountain Soul (Ralph Stanley)
11. "River of Forgiveness" - The SteelDrivers (Tammy Rogers-King / Jerry Salley)
12. "Walk with Me" - Caeland Garner ft. Balsam Range (Kelly Collins / Caeland Garner / Jerry Salley)
13. "Drifting Too Far from the Shore" - Darin and Brooke Aldridge (C. Moody)
14. "Walking in Jerusalem (Just Like John)" - Charlie Daniels ft. Mac Wiseman & The Whites from the album Songs from The Longleaf Pines (Bill Monroe)