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Glory Bound/Rattle The Hocks (CD and DVD)

The Grahams

Cen 2015

Review by David Bowling

 

To say that Alyssa and Doug Graham have a close and lasting relationship is an under statement. At the age of nine, Doug met the seven year old Alyssa and the rest is musical and marital history.

They are a couple who live their music. Their 2013 debut album, Riverman’s Daughter,  was the result os an expedition down the Mississippi’s Great River Road. They have now returned with another heartfelt and more ambitious project.

They move from the river to the rails for their latest album Glory Bound. They rode the rails as they crafted music for their new release. The result is a country album with a very organic feel as its musical approach harps back to imagery, feelings, and styling of Woody Guthrie.

The project did not stop at just an album as they decided to film a musical documentary film at the same time, which focus’ on the relationship between railroads and American roots music.

The music of Glory Bound begins with a a smooth country approach and moves outward to combine with other formats. The ballad “Mama” and the exquisite “Lay Me Down” have a spiritual element. Alyssa’s voice can soar, and Doug’s guitar work, both electric and acoustic, provides a firm foundation to their sound.

“The Spinner” and “Promised Land” have a traditional country connection, while “Biscuits” moves in a gentle blues direction.

The music from Riding The Hocks is different and more eclectic. There are banjos, there are tubas, plus some stunning a capella vocals that sound like early field recordings.

Whether approached jointly or individually, Glory Road and Riding The Hocks are both admirable releases. While the music moves in somewhat different directions, the music is real, authentic, and in touch with an important part of American culture. Both releases are well-worth exploring.

Rating: ***1/2

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