John Bowman released Beautiful Ashes in December 2015. This is my first time to hear a full solo project of his. I've seen him on stage with the Isaacs a few times (he's Becky's husband). He's well-known in his own right in gospel and bluegrass circles and after hearing his newest solo release I can see why.
John definitely has a pure country/ bluegrass style that's evident throughout the project. So many of these songs sound just like something you might have heard on country radio several years ago.
The project starts with "Let the Hard Times Roll." His son Levi joins him on this song. The song has a classic country sound. It’s one of the many songs you’ll find yourself tapping your foot to. "When My Travelin' Days Are Over" is definitely one of those as well!
"Ashes" is a great picture of letting go of regrets. It took me several listens to really grasp all the song had to offer. Definitely one that you’ll want to hit repeat on! The song was written by Gaither artist Woody Wright.
“Caiaphas’ Blues” is a great instrumental tune. Bowman actually played a number of instruments himself on the project speaking to his ability as a musician as well as vocalist.
“Sweet River” is a smooth, easy listening song. This song has a strong piano track to contrast most of the songs. Love the simple prayer of the song. Definitely one of my favorites.
Another song with a strong gospel message is “Reach of His Hand.” It’s a great slower song that speaks of how we are always close to Jesus no matter how we may have strayed.
“They’re Holding Up the Ladder” is the song by the Easter brothers. I don’t notice too many differences from that version, but the song really fits John’s voice nicely and is probably the most “bluegrass” sounding song. “Baby Girl” is a close second to in the bluegrass race. It’s a sweet song that speaks to the father/ daughter relationship.
If you’re a fan of bluegrass and classic country, you’ll love this album!
Song List -
1. "Let the Hard Times Roll"
3. "Cold Day in Hell"
4. "Baby Girl"
5. "Caiaphas' Blues"
6. "Sweet River"
7. "He's Your Friend"
8. "Lies the Devil Told Me"
9. "They're Holding Up the Ladder"
10. "Reach of His Hand"
11. "When My Travelin' Days Are Over"