Their Gospel music is heart felt and effective. The band has, over the past few years, widened its range and gained fans.
There isn't much to add about the legendary James King that others haven't already said, and said better than I can. James singing of "plumb pitiful" songs about death, loss, the end of an era, and the end of happiness capture sadness at its best. His singing comes from so deep inside that it isn't unusual for him to tear up as he sings. Selected traditional male vocalist of the year seven times by SPBGMA, King deserves every one of his awards. This weekend he seemed in a particularly jovial mood. His band and his audience picked up his mood and went with it as he sang his classics like "Bed by the Window," "Echo Mountain," and "Thirty Years of Farming" with strength and conviction. His long-time sidekick Kevin Prater on mandolin provided excellent vocal and instrumental support on mandolin. Chris Hill on banjo is clean, quick, and funny. Tom Timberlake on bass and Eric Christopher on fiddle supply the sort of instrumental support that consistently makes King look good. King was cleared eyed and with the audience through two very good sets before heading out to Kentucky for the next date. This is one of the hardest touring bands in the business.
Perhaps the reaction of the audience at the Farmpark Bluegrass Festival can best be personified in the "young" couple sitting just in front of us. They've only been married three years, having found each other recently. It's their first bluegrass festival, and they've stayed and enjoyed every performer through the first two days. Their joy in each other and the music is infectious. Here they are: