Spencer Bohren

Carry the Word

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Quiet passion and intensity infuse this disc from the opening cut to the ending, which you hate to see approaching. This is a disc of traditional spiritual/gospel songs played in the very spare and understated manner Mr. Bohren is gaining attention with at festivals and club appearances. He is one of those guitar/slide guitar players who is eloquent within his sparcity. The disc has a rich, full sound that he accomplishes with a minimum of additional accompaniment, but when it is there it is placed strategically so that it has maximum impact. The perspicacious use of the backup enhances the disc and never detracts, always letting the focus fall one what is important to the song. Both the Nott Brothers Quartet and Teresa Albury know their roles and stay right there, never trying to steal the spotlight, their singing supports and enhances the lead vocals. Jab Wilson, whose wonderful harmonica playing does such a perfect job of supporting and urging Mr. Bohren to push the singing and guitar playing to new heights. This is at the other extreme end of the spectrum from the Sacred Steel Series that Arhoolie has done, and there is room enough in this world for the various aspects and quite frankly it is enlightening to hear such a different perspective. Spencer was raised in the gospel church, so it was almost a forgone conclusion that he would one day return to his roots after exploration of different tentacles of them. He has used his decades of probing into the blues and folk music to enhances his understanding of his own roots, and thus able to take it to new heights.

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