For more than three decades, singer-songwriter Daryl Mosley has applied his warm-as-country-sunshine voice and thoughtful lyrics to a wealth of memorable material. Throughout the 1990s, he toured as lead vocalist with much-celebrated bluegrass group The New Tradition then joined the legendary Osborne Brothers in 2001. In 2010, Mosley formed The Farm Hands, which quickly became one of the most awarded bands in bluegrass.
Now, with The Secret Of Life, he steps into the solo spotlight with a collection driven by sincere, compelling storytelling built on a solid bluegrass foundation. A native of Waverly, Tennessee, Mosley writes, sings and plays from a Southern small-town perspective, as on the album’s sweet title track, which tells the real-life story of Toad Smith, a local barber who dispenses sage advice on a variety of subjects while cutting hair. Mosley’s gift for picturesque detail shines through, whether he’s singing about love, as on the touching “It Never Gets Old,” and “I’d Write You,” or of a father’s (and God’s) reassuring hand on “All The Way Home.”
Upping the tempo on the lively gospel-bluegrass tune, “Do What The Good Book Says,” Mosley also revisits his past with fresh takes on a few out-of-print New Tradition songs, including “Heartache’s Movin’ In” and the poignant and timely “A Piece At A Time.” While familiar musical territory, as enjoyable and well-executed as it all is, is explored in the above-mentioned songs, the most striking and unusual twist in these tales comes toward the album’s conclusion with “The Deal,” as the artist imagines a frank and haunting conversation with the Devil, who promises to “legalize your pleasure” and “legislate your sin,” offering a “grand buffet” of success and excess in exchange for the soul. It’s a bold but worthy addition to this finely crafted collection.
Review by Austin Carlyle