Little Pig Records
This is the Sojourners third album and it fully maintains the high standards these gentlemen have set in producing their music. Filled with Gospel and blues songs depicting the social injustice of our society and times, this album travels where few traditional Gospel albums tread. Mixing new songs with great works from the Staple Singers, the Dixie Hummingbirds, Sista Rosetta Tharpe, Nina Simone and Stephen Stills, it hearkens back to the 1960’s yet it is also is modern and timely.
The Sojourners are Marcus Mosely, Will Sanders and new member Khari McClelland. The sound is definitely more bluesy and raw, with both angry emotions and hope depicted in their songs. With every listen I became more and more enthralled with this great CD.
They open with Pops Staples “Don’t Knock” and Paul Pigat’s lead and rhythm guitar intro tell us from the start that this album might be a bit edgier. The beautiful harmonies come right into the mix and the trio grabs the listener and make them listen to their forthright testifying. Steve Marriner blows some mean harp to set the tone for “Christian’s Automobile,” a Dixie Hummingbirds classic from 1957. This interpretation is bluesier and more urbane than the original and they do the song justice. Still’s “For What It’s Worth” follows and by this point we feel are firmly entrenched into the 1960’s movements. Marriners’ harp again plays a big role along with the vocals– well done! The Gospel traditional “Ezekial” follows and the harmonies are again exceptional. Michael Van Eyes piano introduces “Milky White Way” as the boys slow the pace down and praise the Lord sweetly. “Dressed for Heaven” is a fellow Canadian Brandon Isaak song; Brandon is a member of the Twisters who, like the Sojourners, are Vancouver-based. It’s a sweet up tempo Gospel cut.
The Staples’ “Why Am I Treated So Bad” is a minor key and down tempo song that brings things down from the frenetic pace for a few moments. More well –done harmonies here. “Hiding Place” is an original by Marcus; the tempo remains down and mood is darker here. Marcus tells us in the lyrics that he does find respite in the Lord’s arms. The traditional “This Train” brings things back up with some rousing vocals and guitar and the same is true of the next traditional cut, “Welcome Table.” These guys can hold their own with any Gospel group!
Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” gets covered next. Pigat again adds two throwback guitar lines that round things out nicely with the spectacular vocals. They close acapella with “I Ain’t Got No Home” using hand claps as percussion. Woody Guthrie’s folk classic is a great addition to the set and is a nice way to close out a fantastic album.
Also appearing are Rob Becker on bass and Geoff Hicks on drums. Produced by Paul Pigat of the band Cousin Harley, the Sojourners demonstrate their craft with even more emotion and edge. I think the album is a huge success and great follow on to their super 2010 release. If you like Gospel with a bluesy and updated flair this will really be a treat for you. These guys are a wonderful trio of harmonizing vocalists who deliver power and emotion with each line. Highly recommended!
Reviewed by Steve Jones