One of the treats that Uncle Lance also sent home to pad HRH‘s collection with, was the newest album by The Word, ‘Soul Food‘.
The Word – an improvisational gospel-jazz super group featuring pedal-steel guitarist Robert Randolph, keyboardist John Medeski and all three North Mississippi All-Stars (guitarist Luther Dickinson, drummer Cody Dickinson and bassist Chris Chew) – will released this 2nd studio album, on May 5th via Vanguard Records. The 12-track LP is the band’s first new recording since their acclaimed self-titled 2001 debut. That’s fourteen years ago! Oh, and did I mention that our copy is autographed bitches? Yeah, that doesn’t suck, right!
Thanks, Uncle Lance!
From the first few chords of the album opener ‘You Brought the Sunshine‘, her response was a “Oh how, this is totally cool!”. Yes, it sure it.
Older and wiser that they were fourteen years ago – and with several tour together as the Word between them – they put their heads together for another 13 tracks, and thank Christ to! If your concept of gospel music includes old hymns and/or fire and brimstone sermons with whoops and lots of “Lord-ay, Lord-ay’s”, set those notions aside; most of these songs are instrumental (nine instrumentals and two with vocals, to be exact), for one thing, and all things being equal, the record sounds like a church than a party. And if this is church then, shit, “Hallelujah! I have seen the light!”
The inspirational, multi-voiced chorus (including guest Amy Helm) and Randolph’s own two-line invocation contradict the downright menacing tone of ‘Come By Here‘. He’s really in his element here, but steps out of the light on ‘When I See the Blood‘, making way for Ruthie Foster’s rich, emotional vocal tones, beseeching listeners to believe in the Son of God. ‘Soul Food I‘ is a mellow and somber dirge relaying loss, while ‘Soul Food II‘ recalls the second line-style with rhythmic keyboard swells. John Medeski lays down dense Hammond on the gritty and sticky ‘Swamp Road‘, while ‘Chocolate Cowboy‘ is a playful ditty with two guitars and keys all taking cues from the other. ‘The Highest‘ ends on a mellow-yet-rousing tone, leaving listeners with a feeling of being raised aloft. HRH calls it “church music with a kick to it”, and that’s about as much as an apt description as your going to get.
The whole thing is awesome. Coupled with some milk and cookies and it’s the perfect way to end long week and another Vinyl Sunday celebration.
P.S.> cookies and milk constitute themselves around this household as “Soul Food” as well. Just sayin’…