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The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers

No Glory

Review by Gary Hill

I was expecting gospel music here. For the most part that's not what you get. If you liked the music in the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", you will love this. It's cut from much the same cloth. There is a lot of blues, a lot of bluegrass and more here. There are incredibly well arranged, multi-layered vocals on each and every piece. The musical style varies from song to song, though. If there's one complaint here, it's the credits. They don't list who does the lead vocal on each song. Mind you, some have more a group vocal throughout, but even on the tracks with one person taking lead, it just list "vox" with each name. Still, that's not anything to detract from the sound of this. Overall, this is a particularly effective and strong set from start to finish.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
No Glory
The understated music at the start of this serves as a great backdrop for the vocals. The cut has a mournful, bluesy sound to it. It gets further built up as it works forward. This has plenty of Americana built into it. The instrumental break has some killer retro tinged guitar work built into it.
Momma Told Me
While the lead vocals on the opener were male ones, female vocals are the lead ones here. This cut has a lot of R&B in the mix. That said, there is still some of that bluesy element here. The horns add a lot to the arrangement.
Haunted
The retro tinged sound on this is quite bluesy. It has more of a group vocal concept than a lead and backing one. This is great stuff. Then again, you can say that about just about anything here.
Take Me to the Water
A bit of psychedelia starts things here. It works out to a bluesy kind of jam from there. The cut is dominated by the female vocals. The vocal arrangement is among the best here. The killer musical textures do a great job of enhancing the magic of it.
Like a Child
Male lead vocals are featured here. This cut starts with a bluesy retro sound. It works out toward more of a modern alternative rock vibe. The arrangement is dense and lush and so cool. As good as everything here is, it's tough for things to really stand out, but this manages it.
Church Fire
A bit of picked guitar starts this. That ends, though, and a sea of voices rises up with no accompaniment to continue. This does earn that "gospel" title. Another bit of picked guitar arrives at the end.
Til I Got Your Love
The bass brings this into being. As it works outward, it has a cool jazzy element with the saxophone adding to that image. The female soulful vocals join and we're into the song proper.
Over Me
A slow moving piece, this combines old-school country sounds and blues. The lead vocals are of the male variety. I dig the slide guitar. There are elements of Hawaiian music here.
Something To Hold
A bouncy, playful kind of sound is on hand here. This feels quite a bit like mid 1960s pop music. While the lead vocals are of the male variety, the bulk of this is based on a blending. The horns bring some special magic to it. The guitar sound is definitely 60s based.
Dry
A slow moving motif serves as the backdrop for non-lyrical vocals on the extended introduction here. Those drop away and we get a male vocal over something that feels a bit like a slow bluegrass sound.
Lay Down Low
Recorded live, this has an instrumental introduction, but works out to just vocals after that. After the first vocal movement a rhythmic elements is added along with some guitar to fill in on the short vocal break section. After a while, the guitar rises up as the vocals continue. Gospel, roots music and blues all merge here.
It's Killing Me
The closer is a bluesy kind of grind with female lead vocals. It is a cool cut and a great way to end the set in style.
 
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