The Sunday Review: CD Angel Band, by Andrew Greer
Posted by Lisa Lickel on April 8, 2012
He is Risen!
Angel Band: The Hymn Sessions
CDs – $10, with more at half-price on the artist’s web site
Angel Band is a like romp through the music styles of American from simple acoustical guitar and tambourine log cabin days to happy 1890 banjo strumming, through tent revival, big band, horn-heavy pops and ballroom dances, modern gospel choir and organ, drums and rainstick, to wailing or twanging 1960 and 70-era electrical guitars.
Leading with the simple and cleansing title piece, “Angel Band is the second album from Texas native Andrew Greer. He not only gathers some of his favorite hymns, but assembles great names in the music field as companion backups, like the McCray sisters, Cindy Morgan, Sonja Isaacs and Marc Scibilia and Ron Block’s magic banjo. Greer and Julie Lee are currently touring – visit RadarRadio.net for the latest schedule.
Greer launches into “Never Grow Old” with a little more rousing rhythm, a repetitive chorus. “Down By the Riverside” uses a scratchy 1930-scratchy radio microphone device for the opening phrase before jumping into ragtime with Julie Lee on vocal backup. The simple “The Lord’s Prayer” is gorgeously rendered, once, plain with banjo accompaniment, focusing solely on the voice of Christ. “I Come to the Garden” transported me to Sgt. Pepper’s happy picnic grounds.
Greer often opens the dozen tracks with traditional phrasing before taking off with his own style. Angel Band is a good disc for those who would like to explore some familiar hymns without having to visit Grandma’s church, or for those who don’t mind musical and stylistic liberties taken with their favorites.
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