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Anthony Howell “Hold Back the Dawn”

Written by on June 4, 2023

I may be one of the last people from The Bluegrass Jamboree to realize that Anthony Howell played all the musical instrument parts, on all the songs, in his new album ‘Hold Back The Dawn.’ The songs were written by a variety of Traditional, older, and more contemporary writers, including himself. I will let Anthony tell you more about the Project that he poured his heart & soul into, for almost three years. I hope you will choose the CD option, and see all there is on the covers & Liner notes. There are 14 songs on the album, which was released independently. I believe that Anthony’s work on this was ‘Extraordinary! To say less than that, is inaccurate. As you will hear, the other performers should be happy & proud, as well.


The selection of songs is very interesting, and I will credit the participants as we go. ‘Michael’s Prayer’ (Anthony Howell) It’s only fitting to start with an instrumental, and this one is lively featuring the Guitar. ‘Whisper In The Wind’ (Greg Underwood, 1991) A happy Bluegrass tune, with excellent Mandolin & Guitar. Greg Underwood/lead, Kadence Williamson/tenor, A. Howell/baritone. ‘Midnight On The Stormy Deep’ (Public Domain) Traceable to a poem by Wilhelm Hauff, 1824. Robert Montgomery/lead, Alan Sibley/tenor, A. Howell/baritone. A real ‘grass Classic with strong Mandolin & Guitar. Popularized by Bill Monroe & Doc Watson @1968. This rendition is very good, lead misses ‘High Lonesome Sound’ of predecessor. ‘Matthew 24’ (Lonnie Gleeson), 1947. Edgar Loudermilk/lead, Zach Autry/tenor, A. Howell/baritone, bass. Very strong lead vocal with comparable instrumentation. Excellent! Previously recorded by Jim & Jesse, Porter Wagoner, Kitty Wells.


‘Serenity’ (Anthony Howell) A Banjo ballad. Started to say Beautiful, changed to Wonderful! One of my favorites. ‘Lamp Lighting Time In The Valley’ (Joe Lyons, 1933) Also Sam Hart & the Vagabonds. Juddah Buggay/lead, Joshua Kemble/tenor, A. Howell/baritone. Mandolin, Banjo, & Dobro are clear & crisp on this one. The vocals are as well. I LOVE it! ‘Gold Watch & Chain’ (Public Domain) Originally written by A. P. Carter, released by Carter Family, 1933. Kadence Williamson/lead, Don Robinson/baritone, A. Howell/low tenor. Kadence’s voice on this is heavenly, and she transports us back to the days of the Carter Family! I believe this rendition compares favorably to one by Emmy Lou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, & Linda Ronstadt. It is exquisite… ‘Little Bessie’ (Public Domain) Marty Hays/lead, Don Robinson/baritone, A. Howell/baritone. Traditional Bluegrass, vocals are old timey & down homey. Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin. Extra good! Salt River Canyon (Kevin Williamson) K. Williamson/lead, Shawn Lane/tenor, A. Howell/baritone. Movin’ Bluegrass tune, with a ‘sad’ tone to the vocals. Hot pickin’ Mandolin, downpicking Guitar, good Banjo. All well done.


‘Grandfather’s Clock’ (Public Domain) Marty Hays/lead. A Folk song lament; the story of an old clock, an old man, and their attachment over 90 long years. ‘Wilson County Breakdown’ (Anthony Howell) An instrumental that is light, and breezy with the pattern of Banjo, Guitar, and Mandolin. ‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus’ (Public Domain) Bradley Parsons/lead, Michael Hyde/tenor, Don Robinson/baritone, A. Howell/bass. Song of Reassurance in Bluegrass Gospel.

‘Tis Sweet To Be Remembered’ (Public Domain) Anthony Howell/lead, Jacey Jacobsen/tenor, Robert Montgomery/baritone. Light music but melancholy & folksy. ‘When I’m Dead, My Dearest’ (Public Domain) Juddah Buggay/lead, Don Robinson/baritone, A. Howell/low tenor. A lively, fun tune, with a sad topic. I always like a final song that wraps the album well. Bingo!


I want y’all to know, I had to work to get all these words & descriptions into this format. This is not a Podcast, where I can blabber on all day. I started to give you a sense of History on the old tunes because I love that stuff, but ran out of space. I’m sorry I couldn’t provide more.


What an outstanding effort, on this project! If I get to make any suggestions, they would be these. 1, Whatever format you choose next time, this listener would like to hear more lead vocals from Anthony & Kadence. 2, Wouldn’t it be wonderful, someday, if Anthony starts his own band, and we can go see/hear them play songs like these? Yours truly, with fingers crossed, in Virginia…



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