January 11, 2023

Mountain Home to Re-Release David Marshall’s Clearwaters on Digital Platforms

Nearly 40 years ago, the legendary Marshall Family’s David Marshall issued a remarkable yet under-appreciated album on Mountain Home Music Company. Out of print for years, Clearwaters has been newly mastered and will be released for the first time as a digital-only album, available for purchase or streaming on all platforms. It’s now available for pre-save/add/order on those platforms ahead of its January 27 release.  

Recorded at the Horizon Music Group studios in Asheville, North Carolina for the then-fledgling label, Clearwaters knit together profound Christian conviction and a deeply personal creativity in a rare musical fabric. Best known for his work with his family’s bluegrass gospel group, which released three albums back in the 1970s that served as inspiration to artists like The Isaacs, Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent, Marshall was a distinctive, emotive singer, a deliciously individualistic banjo, mandolin and guitar player, and the composer of songs that not only suited the Marshall Family but found favor with the likes of bluegrass Hall of Famers Ralph Stanley and Larry Sparks.  

Together with co-producer Tim Surrett, who would go on to help found the label’s flagship group, Balsam Range, he assembled a group of musicians that included returning members of the Family, studio wizards such as multi-instrumentalist David Johnson (who, like Surrett, had just finished recording with iconic guitarist Tony Rice), friends like J.P. Pennington of country chart topper Exile, and an assortment of bluegrass players and singers then just beginning their rise to prominence: six-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year, Dale Ann Bradley; ten-time IBMA Guitar Player of the Year Bryan Sutton; acclaimed singer and songwriter Steve Gulley; bassist Ben Isaacs (The Isaacs) and mandolinist Jeff Parker (Dailey & Vincent, Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers).  

The result is a collection that ranges from Marshall’s inspired rewrite of old-time favorite “Hammer and Nails” to the contemplative closing instrumental, “Daddy’s Darlin’ Dream,” offering hope, redemption and deeply personal reflections on God’s grace and the promise of eternal life. And while Clearwaters offers an intriguing glimpse into the early careers of some of bluegrass and bluegrass gospel’s most beloved artists, it also sounds as fresh and original as it did on its first release, enhancing a musical legacy that has yet to win the acclaim it deserves.