From Bill Monroe’s “Walking In Jerusalem,” adapted from the Golden Gate Quartet, to Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver’s epic reworking of the Soul Stirrer’s “Jesus Gave Me Water,” bluegrass artists have drawn on the rich vein of African-American gospel singing. Now, The Gina Furtado Project serve up their own take on this tradition with “I Just Telephone Upstairs,” the group’s newest single for Mountain Home Music Company.
Pared down to instrumental essentials, the Kristin Scott Benson-produced track shines a spotlight squarely on Furtado’s distinctive voice, cooing harmonies from bandmates and sisters Malia and Lu (bass) Furtado, and deft Travis-style picking from guitarist Drew Matulich, with rhythmic punctuation from guest Wayne Benson’s mandolin. The result is a refreshing change of pace — for The Gina Furtado Project, certainly, but for the bluegrass gospel realm, too.
“When I first heard this song from the Golden Gate Quartet, I put it on repeat and left it there for a few days,” recalls Gina. “It made me smile ‘til my smile-muscles hurt. Sometimes I'd even laugh out loud to myself listening to it, driving down the road, with the sheer delight at the optimism in their performance and the lyrics. It's just so funny and fun! Recording this one with my siblings, Malia and Lu, was definitely a secret little dream come true for me. Drew Matulich absolutely knocked it out of the park with his tasty finger-style guitar picking, along with Wayne Benson's mandolin and Lu's bass. I had such a blast with this one.”
“Hats off to the Golden Gate Quartet” she adds, in a nod to the Black gospel legends. “They continue to be one of those groups I keep going back to when I need a boost and new inspiration!”
Listen to "I Just Telephone Upstairs" HERE.