Ricky Skaggs

What would you do if you could see the end of the line? What if mortality occupied every thought, and you wondered what lay on the other side of the grave? Bluegrass icon Ricky Skaggs must be thinking of his grand exit lately; it’s a recurring theme on this album. Mosaic is his spiritual walkabout, adorned with direct and indirect allusions to a Christian God that cast the temporal and celestial relationship in a positive light (“Shepherd’s Voice,” “Picture”). Musically, it’s clear blue skies — slick Nashville. Lyrically, Skaggs’ proselytizing runneth over (“Fire from the Sky,” which credits the thunder in the track directly to “God”), alienating believers from other rich, no less significant faiths. Everyone has the right to celebrate and practice his or her religion, but a god of inclusion and tolerance seems like a much more attractive, magnetic idea. Records like this don’t advance civilization’s needle one inch.