Reviewed by Lisa Lickel
Angel Band: The Hymns Sessions
by Andrew Greer
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"Angel Band is a good disc for those who would like to explore some familiar hymns without having to visit Grandma’s church, or for those who don’t mind musical and stylistic liberties taken with their favorites."
Angel Band is a like romp through the music styles of America. From simple acoustical guitar and tambourine log cabin days to happy 1890 banjo strumming, through tent revival, big band, horn-heavy pops and ballroom dances, modern gospel choir and organ, drums and rainstick, to wailing or twanging 1960 and 70-era electrical guitars.
Leading with the simple and cleansing title piece, "Angel Band" is the second album from Texas native Andrew Greer. He not only gathers some of his favorite hymns, but assembles great names in the music field as companion backups, like the McCray sisters, Cindy Morgan, Sonja Isaacs and Marc Scibilia and Ron Block’s magic banjo. Greer and Julie Lee are currently touring – visit RadarRadio.net for the latest schedule.
Greer launches into “Never Grow Old” with a little more rousing rhythm, a repetitive chorus. “Down By the Riverside” uses a scratchy 1930-scratchy radio microphone device for the opening phrase before jumping into ragtime with Julie Lee on vocal backup. The simple “The Lord’s Prayer” is gorgeously rendered, with banjo accompaniment, focusing solely on the voice of Christ. “I Come to the Garden” transported me to Sgt. Pepper’s happy picnic grounds.
Greer often opens the dozen tracks with traditional phrasing before taking off with his own style. Angel Band is a good disc for those who would like to explore some familiar hymns without having to visit Grandma’s church, or for those who don’t mind musical and stylistic liberties taken with their favorites.
Lickel lives in Wisconsin with her high school teacher husband in a 150-year-old
Great Lakes ship captain's house. She is active in more than one historical society,
belongs to writing and reading clubs and is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin,
the magazine of Wisconsin Regional Writers. A graduate of the Christian Writer's
Guild, she has written newspaper features and magazine articles, radio theater,
and authored several inspirational novels. Find her online at http://lisalickel.com,