Nashville Blues Society
When Jim Byrnes called Marcus Mosely and asked him to gather some singers to provide backing vocals for his "House Of Refuge" release, Mosely responded with old pals Will Sanders and Ron Small. This backing-vocal gig soon turned into a full-fledged group, tho, with deep gospel roots and uncannily-tight harmonies. Byrnes dubbed them The Sojourners, and they recorded a splendid freshman effort in 2007, "Hold On." They were also featured on the recent tribute CD to the Mississippi Sheiks, and are back in full stride with their latest offering, simply titled "The Sojourners."
These men have an extensive gospel pedigree, singing in church as young men in their hometowns. On this set, though the gospel "feel' is the driving force, there is also a common thread with soul-influenced groups such as Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions. And, the addition of producer Steve Dawson's incredible string work gives this one a decided "Saturday night" edge to go along with the "Sunday morning" influences.
That soulful feel is evident in cuts such as "When I Die," and the leadoff "Nobody Can Turn Me Around," with its multi-layered harmonies accentuated by Dawson's slide and B-3 from Mike Kalanj. Will Sanders' upper-register vocals take center stage in tribute to our fallen military heroes, "Another Soldier Gone." Steve's slide again provides the perfect foil to the harmonies in "Great Day," and the socially-conscious "The Neighborhood." Jesse Zubot also adds sweet mandolin on the old-school set-closer, "By And By."
We had two favorites, too. Marcus takes the lead on the uplifting story of the "Strange Man at the well" with the power to cleanse your spirit! And, Steve's lap steel adds to the deeply-brooding mix of Rev. Gary Davis' "Death Don't Have No Mercy."
Whether you are sinner or saint, you'll definitely feel better after giving a listen to "The Sojourners." Until next time....Sheryl and Don Crow.