Set in the 1930s, this musical tale introduces the singing Sanders family, who perform their traditional and bluegrass gospel songs for the members of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, NC. Pastor Oglethorpe welcomes the family to the church, where their individual stories and beliefs are shared during the concert. The audience serves as the members of the congregation.
The score of Smoke on the Mountain consists of almost thirty gospel tunes, all of which could have been performed at the time by such a group. There is a pleasant mixture of energetic rousing numbers, plaintive hymns, and soulful praise songs. The songs vary from the well known, such as “Amazing Grace” and “I’ll Fly Away,” to the more obscure ones, such as “Filling Station” and “Christian Cowboy”.
The story is an extremely well rendered one. Rather than just a concert of old-time Christian hymns,Smoke On The Mountain is truly a musical. The characters are well developed and realistic, there is sufficient back story, and the dialogue is never trite. Many of the songs supply further clarification or reinforcement of the book and personal stories provided. The presentation of the characters’ faith and beliefs is inspiring and personal, yet never preachy.