Out of the Shadows, the debut release from husband and wife duo, Lashbrooks, is filled with stories of hope and redemption. Vocalist, Rhonda Lashbrooks, wrote the songs assisted by her guitarist husband, Troy Lashbrooks. Also appearing were pianist Dustin Cottrell of the duo, Tortoise and Hair, and slide guitarist extraordinaire, Ross Pead.
But Lashbrooks and their songs are the stars here. The first cut, Bigger Than It All, starts with Troy’s rapid fire picking before Rhonda’s powerful voice sings, “It’s my love that’s gonna pull you up from here.” This sets the tone for the rest of the CD. The energy fueled by the almost electric connection between the couple sizzles out of the speakers. The second song, Out of the Shadows, showcases Rhonda on keyboards as she shows her gospel roots and continues the theme of hope against adversity. “Let me be your rock until you can stand. Until you come out of the shadows, here’s my hand.” The couple’s vocal harmonies are soul stirring, the message is uplifting.
It’s hard to pick a favorite here. If I Lose My Way is a great song. “If I lose my way, if I forget the words, if I fly to the heavens, if I crash and burn, there’s one thing you need to know. I’ll be singing my own song.” Don’t Hide Your Love glows with great harmonies and dazzling guitar runs reminiscent of David Rawling’s work with Gillian Welch.
Lashbrooks are the real thing. Troy’s fluid, sparkling guitar work moves the songs, the duo’s harmonies are rich and vibrant, and Rhonda’s lead vocal is expressive and moving. Her powerful voice soars, conveying a sense of intimacy while lifting the listener to the height of emotion. The songs shimmer to the brim with conviction and strength, yet show the tenderness of someone who has been wounded and found their way back to the light. Out of the Shadows is a very strong first release. It will be interesting to see how Lashbrooks follow up this sterling effort.