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CD REVIEW: Brian Ames & David Danced Collective

BRIAN AMES

Myth and Truth

Independent

Brian Ames Myth & Truth

By Mark Baier

The link between gospel and spiritual music and traditional secular blues is strong and well known. Certainly, early manifestations of secular blues were reinterpretations of common church songs and were, in fact, considered to be blasphemous by devout believers. The musical power of God’s gospel was evident in the characterization of early practitioners of as agents of the devil, such was the offense at using the melodic power of gospel for secular use. It was a music that was thought to evoke the power and sway of the almighty, and not meant for the casual edification of popular song. Obviously, the proverbial cat has been let out of the bag, and these spiritual roots, powerful as they are in spreading the gospel, have become the foundations of most all popular music, which is derivative of early spirituals in many ways. It is the use of these modern musical idioms that fuel the new release by Brian Ames’ “Myth and Truth”, a collection of gospel songs which glorify Ames’ relationship with Jesus Christ, and his desire to broaden the understanding and humanity of the glory of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for mankind. For despite its goal of glorifying a Christian understanding of faith, Ames does not rely on traditional gospel’s classic melodies and roots, but approaches the task with modern rock and roll and powerful techno beats and methods. It is a sound that would be wholly unfamiliar to Rev. Thomas Dorsey or Mahalia Jackson.

 

Ames’ interpretations of traditional gospel hymns like “Lord Fix Me Right,” “Wade In the Water,” “John The Revelator” and “Pure Religion” are equal parts Jimi Hendrix, Sgt. Pepper and the Gorillaz. While using modern idioms to convey God’s word isn’t a new approach, Ames’ productions and arrangements are fresh and compelling, with a raw edge that takes the message far beyond the obvious.

 

Aided by a group of musicians known as “The David Danced Collective” Ames and company sculpt a sound that is thoroughly modern, utilizing heavy beats and aggressive guitar and bass riffs to deliver their message of God’s love. It is a recording that is as stylistically diverse as it is removed from tradition. In addition to the hard-edged rock and roll featured, there are equal parts hip hop, electric country, smooth jazz and hard blues represented on Myth and Truth. Some standout tracks include “Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down,” No One’s Winning Streak Blues” and Bob Dylan’s epic “Knockin’ On Heaven Door”, the latter providing a moving coda to the collection. It is obviously a song close to Ames’ heart and soul.

 

Recorded at Chicago’s Rax Trax recording studio, the production is absolutely top notch with musicianship to match. The David Danced Collective is comprised of a variety of local musicans not limited to Jamiah Rogers, Packy Lundholm and Noam Wallenberg on guitars, Larry Beers on drums. Jennifer Hall and Jim Schlueter provide background vocals while Ames handles the lead vocals and bass guitar duties.

 

Myth and Truth is an exceptionally well-made record with fantastic sound and production quality. Its timeless message is wrapped in a musical package that wouldn’t normally be associated with praise music. Highly recommended.

 

Myth & Truth can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and on band camp.com

 

 

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