The Black Gospel Blog
When I first heard Canada’s Sojourners quartet – Ron Small, Will Sanders, and Marcus Mosely – on fellow Canadian Jim Byrnes’ recent CD House of Refuge (also on Black Hen), I wrote in TBGB: “…they deserve a project of their own.” Voila! They have one. And it’s as good as I imagined it would be.
The Sojourners specialize in close, old-time quartet harmony. Hold On proves they are well schooled in the gospel quartet songbook, as they offer up authentic readings of some of the songbook’s classic compositions. “Old Ship of Zion,” “Walking Up the King’s Highway,” “Eyes on the Prize,” and a cover of the Charming Bells' 1949 “Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb,” the latter featuring a cameo appearance by Byrnes, are just a few.
A string band (Steve Dawson and Keith Lowe) and drums (Geoff Hicks) provide a folksy feel to the songs. In fact, the seamless intermingling of old-time string band music, country blues, and traditional black gospel singing is characteristic of the gospel CDs coming from our northern neighbors. It’s an amalgam reminiscent of what Alan Lomax heard while traveling around the U.S. with his recording apparatus during the mid-20th century.
The Sojourners are preserving the jubilee-style of quartet singing that was once the most popular form of gospel music. And doing a marvelous job of it, I must say.
Three of Four Stars