The Sojourners are quite unlike any other gospel group recording today. The Canadian trio - Will Sanders, Ron Small, and Marcus Mosley, all born in the USA but based in Vancouver, BC - draws on the African American gospel quartet tradition, but because there are only three members, non singing bass, the harmonies are pitched higher and are different from those of most quartets. The sweet vocal blend is at times similar to that of the Impressions, especially on the CD-opening NOboday Can Turn Me Around', a Mighty Clouds of Joy tune possibly inspired by the IMpressions' 'Woman's Got Soul". (Or is it the other way around? Both songs are from 1966.) Other quartet-associated numbers on the trio's self-titled sophomore recording include the Golden Gate Quartet's jubilee-style 'Brother Moses Smote the Water', the Jackson Southernaires' country-flavored "It's Hard to Stumble (When You're On Your Knees)', and the Violinaires' "Another Soldier Gone" rendered in a glorious doo-wop manner. And in addition to Dorothy Love Coates' 'Strange Man', Doris Akers' "Lead Me Guide Me", REv. Gary Davis' "Death Don't Have No Mercy", Charles A. Tindley's "We Will Understand It Better By and By", and the traditional "Great Day (Who Shall Be Able to Stand)", the wonderfully eclectic program includes two non-gospel tunes: Los Lobos' "The Neighbourhood", and "Whien I Die", a 1969 hit by the Canadian pop group Motherlode.
Unlike most current American gospel recordings that are aimed at the church crowd and feature synthesizers and fancy drummers, the Sojourners are produced by Steve Dawson offer a more organic approach with a solid yet subdued rhythm section of organ, bass, and drums and plenty of Dawson's guitar. The trio's take on gospel music seems intended to target the white roots-music audience that's fond of the Blind Boys of Alabama - though the Sojourners' harmonies are smoother - and Robert Randolph and other sacred-steel guitarists. Indeed, Dawson frequently plays slide guitar in a searing sacred-steel fashion, albeit less ferociously, while at other times his picking suggests the Merle Travis-Chet Atkins tradition. The CD may contain some excellent instrumental work, but it's the trio's outstanding vocal blend, which achieves an uncanny balance between passion and polish, that makes it such a winner.