Founder Craig Fuller and longtime bassist and leader Mike Reilly began to fulfill their vision of PPL's return around 2000. Joining forces with them were some of the top musicians available: Curtis Wright, a singer-songwriter-guitarist who has written and performed with many of today's top country acts, Rick Schell, co-founder of country music upstarts Pinmonkey, on drums and Fats Kaplin on pedal steel, fiddle, mandolin, washboard and accordion. PPL performed on a limited basis for a few years, and then took a more aggressive approach in 2005, touring nationally before some wildly enthusiastic crowds. Rejecting several contract offers, PPL opted for full artistic control. And now we all benefit from that decision.
Rich harmonies, outstanding lead vocals, superior writing, superb pedal steel, invigorating, expert musicianship, were all terms used to describe Pure Prairie League throughout the years.
All In Good Time delivers all of these and in grand style. In many ways, it exceeds expectations. And let's face it, expectations run high with PPL. And why not? Their self titled debut LP, Bustin' Out, Two Lane Highway, Live! Takin' The Stage and Firin' Up are among the most critically acclaimed releases of the genre. PPL has put together a release that carries on in the proudest of traditions, one that has seen some of the most talented and successful musicians of our time pass through it. Add this lineup and CD to the list of PPL classics.
All In Good Time, laced with catchy hooks and crafty lyrics, is dazzling display of tunes which capture you immediately. The return of Fuller and the presence of Reilly virtually guaranteed that, but the unique and immense talent of every member of this group truly brings this to a level of excitement similar to the height of country rock's heyday. Kaplin's work shines throughout this CD and Schell provides a driving background and superb harmonies. Unlike many groups who reunite but have nothing significant to say, PPL's All In Good Time roars out at you.
It's all there. The lighthearted, upbeat songs dealing with relationships and life (Gettin' Over You, Don't Go Confessing Your Love, Walking In My Sleep, That Changes Everything Again), to the more serious, soulful tunes which prey on your emotions ( I Sure Do Miss You Now, One Of Those Things, Nothing Like The Lonely) to the reflective, whimsical take on Meant To Be. Fuller is a master at delivering a song in a style that forces you to pay attention, his voice still a thing of beauty. The acoustical and electric guitars are crisp and inventive. The sparse arrangements work perfectly as PPL wisely relies on their own output, no need for any additional production enhancements. Wright's lead vocals on two songs, Here Tomorrow, Gone Today and If You Say What I'm Thinking are smooth and powerful. If You Say What I'm Thinking, a live cut from a Chillicothe OH PPL reunion show, features legendary co-founders John David Call on steel and George Ed Powell on guitar. The roar of the hometown crowd adds to the excitement. An enthusiastic performance, the recording is flawless. Cajun Girl, from Craig's Little Feat days, is a rousing, spirited rendition with some sensational accordion. Fuller fans who thrive on his more hardened, serious state of mind will no doubt find themselves ensconced in The Cost Of Doing Business, a powerful tune written with Wright. A brutally honest commentary on the music scene in Nashville, the song gives you a snapshot look at the struggles of a singer-songwriter's dilemma and serves as both a reality check for aspiring musicians as well as a soulful reflection from those who have been there.
PPL does what it's always done: they remain true to themselves, creating a sound that doesn't compromise their vision, yet manages to capture the ears of their adoring faithful "prairiedog" fans, as well as a new legion of listeners. If there is a formula to PPL's longevity and success that may very well be it. PPL has defied the odds throughout their career. All In Good Time certainly does that and more, taking us back to the roots of country rock with a fresh, present day attitude, one that has us looking to tomorrow for more.