Offering listeners more impassioned spiritual music in four hours than they might hear in a lifetime of Sunday morning services, "Stained Glass Bluegrass" is a wonderfuland wonderfully namedSunday morning public radio show in Washington, D.C. Hosted by Red Shipley, this church of the air waves plays traditional and contemporary bluegrass songs that are both testaments to faith and to the musical form itself.
For those unable to listen to Shipley's show, however, two fine new releases on the Rounder Records label provide the sort of down-home spiritual fare that often finds its way on to his venerable play list. The first, Blue Highway's Wondrous Love, is a remarkable journey through the history of religious bluegrass and country music. The group's versions of such traditional songs as the stirring title track and the haunting instrumental "The Rugged Old Cross" feel both old-timey and timeless. They speak to a new generation of listeners like a knowing voice of yore coming straight down from the Appalachian hills.