The most traditional sort of gospel I’ve heard in a while, The Sojourners reveals a group skilled and flexible enough to make a collection of covers and traditional numbers sound like their own material. The focus here is on the three vocalists (Marcus Mosely, Ron Small, and Will Sanders), but their band does a great job supporting them. Think typical gospel and you’ve got your Hammond B-3 start to the sound, but they explore more territory than that. Some of these cuts are soulful enough you can imagine Sam Cooke would have signed them to SAR; others are twangy enough that the group could almost have toured with someone like the Hacienda Brothers. “Great Day” is noteworthy for Steve Dawson’s gritty electric guitar work on the kind of song I always want to sing in a church somewhere (though I doubt I’d be allowed to handle a tambourine anywhere). Of course, it is a vocal album at heart, and the trio running the show are more than capable at the challenges here. Harmonies and lead vocals interweave nicely, and the singers are both pitch-perfect and naturally infectious. We’re all sojourners, really, but here’s a record that might stay around a little longer.
- Justin Cober-Lake