Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Link Family grows musically

By R.D. Hohenfeldt
Managing Editor

The musical growth of The Link Family was evident during their performance Sunday night, May 16, at Macedonia Baptist Church.
Returning for the second summer bluegrass concert series, the Links showed stronger vocals, tighter harmonies and, especially, cleaner picking.
Of course, this is just what we would expect from a family band that performs and travels together year-round--and is growing up together.
The Lebanon family has been performing bluegrass music for about 10 years, but the oldest, singer and mandolinist Rachel, is barely in her 20s. The youngest, John, is a mere 10, so we're going to see and hear lots more growth in Link abilities.
The Links opened Sunday night's concert with an instrumental, followed by my current favorite in their repertoire, "I Am The Man, Thomas" from their Hold Fast recording.
Other highlights, in my humble opinion:
--"He Bore it All," sung as an a capella quartet number by Rachel, brothers Kyle and Benjamin and mother Becky. The harmonies soared and it ended with a brilliant tag.
--A Celtic instrumental with Benjamin using his banjo as a drum, Rachel playing a pennywhistle, Becky on guitar, dad Lance on bass and Kyle leading on fiddle, along with his wife, Ashley, and younger brother Aaron, also playing fiddles.
--"Prayer Bells of Heaven," one of my favorite bluegrass gospel songs no matter who does it.
The Links also had us laughing with some of their antics. They started the humor by singing "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," followed by Kyle (on guitar instead of fiddle) telling a story about the family, using snippets of TV and movie theme songs to illustrate.
That led into a musical cutting contest between Kyle and Benjamin, which, of course, turned into "Dueling Banjos."
Benjamin later sang a song he wrote a couple of years ago (and he's only about 15 now) titled "Destiny." It's on Links' new CD, The Water Is Wide, which just came in the mail, so that song is likely to become my new favorite Link tune after I hear it a few more times.
The Links perform more than gospel music, but they are uncompromising in their faith in Christ. Benjamin gave a short devotional message near the end of the program that gave us goosebumps. They closed the concert with "I Surrender All."
The Link Family--Lance and Becky, Rachel, Kyle, Benjamin, Aaron and John, plus Lance's wife Ashley and Rachel's husband Landen Keeler, the group's sound engineer--have a lot of years of music and witnessing for Christ ahead of them, the Lord willing. We're looking forward to hearing more from them.

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