Like countless others, while I enjoyed the film O Brother, Where Art Thou, I was captivated by the music. I was one of the millions who immediately purchased the soundtrack and enjoyed discovering, or rediscovering, that old-school country and bluegrass music. It was there that I first heard of The Peasall Sisters. These three girls, unknown at the time, tried out to be the singing voices of three little girls in the film. Against all odds they were selected for the part. This began a lightning-quick rise to popularity and they embarked, along with others who contributed to the soundtrack, on a nation-wide tour.
The DVD is balanced between showing the girls singing and showing their daily lives. The songs on the album are performed live and raw at Pucketts in Franklin, Tennessee. They sing many traditional songs along with some of their most popular tunes: “Home To You,” “The Old Churchyard,” “Hallelujah, I’m Ready,” “The Old Account,” and “Be Thou My Vision.” Compared to the album Home To You (you can listen to several MP3s here) the songs sound somewhat rough, yet for a live performance the girls show remarkable skill in their harmonies and the playing of their instruments. When it comes to musical talent, these girls are incredible, especially when you consider their ages: 18, 14 and 12.
It is interesting being given a glance into the life of this family. They are a homeschooling family, and one that was dedicated to homeschooling long before they headed out onto the road to perform. They are a big family with six children so far and a committment to letting God determine how many children they will have. They are a close family, one that lives together, studies together and travels together. When the girls embark on a tour, the whole family piles into the R.V. and they travel together. Dad, a former music minister at a large Baptist church, is the fourth member of their band, playing bass and holding back the boys.
Together the family makes a compelling picture of the power of the gospel. Throughout their rise to popularity this family has stayed grounded in their faith and family. When asked what they hope people to take away from one of their concerts the answer is uniform, from dad to the youngest daughter: they want people to hear and know the gospel. They want people to see the gospel in action. They are unashamed to declare their allegiance. Here are a few quotes from the family when asked about their vision for what they do. “When people leave our concerts I want them to know that we really enjoy what we do. That they’ve seen the gospel and they’ve seen a Christian family and they’ve seen good musicians and they’ve heard some good music. But they’ve seen a family who enjoys what they do.” “I just want to have a godly personality and a godly influence on people.” “I want them to have experienced the presence of God. That is my one, true desire. Second of all I want them to take home a new appreciation of bluegrass and traditional country.” “I want musical excellence to be a part of the picture, but more than that I guess the number on priority, or something I want my family to be known for, is honoring God in our daily lives. Shining light in the darkness for God.”
This is one of my new favorite DVDs and one I expect I will watch (and listen to) regularly – probably whenever I need that bluegrass fix. I recommend this one on two levels, both for the music, which is outstanding, and the story of this family, which is inspiring. You can purchase the DVD from Franklin Springs Family Media. Included on the DVD are several compelling extras, including unreleased tracks, a music-only version of the DVD and so on. You may also enjoy the Home To You CD which is available from Amazon.