Prime Cuts: Eb and Flo, I Hung My Head, Great is Thy Faithfulness
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
Andre Rieu meets Alison Krauss is the first impression one gets when listening to this new record. The songs on Annie Moses Band's brand new Gaither Music release "Tales from my Grandpa's Pulpit" oscillates between the grand orchestrated pseudo-classical music to the soft peddling of folkish acoustic music. The vocals range from the loud and grandiose to soft Kate Bush-esque whispers. And the lyrical content swings from the old traditional hymns that exalt the faithfulness of Jesus to wistful tunes about a grandfather's cowboy hat. In short, this is an album of its kind. It's innovative, experimental, and at times it even pushes boundaries. Yet, there's something down-home, sentimental, and old-fashioned about it that makes the album endearing.
With the backing of Gaither Music, the execution of this record is top-notched. Superbly done without a hitch, the swirling orchestrated songs sound heavenly. And the folkish endeavors sound organic and heartfelt. The best representative of the record is the current single "Old Hat." Starting off as a subdued country ballad that Alison Krauss would be proud of, "Old Hat" crescendos into a swirling piece of celestial proportions. If you are into virtuosic playing of string instrumentals done in a bluegrass style, the album's trio of instrumental tracks will be a delight: "Saw'yer Fiddle," "Tumbleweed," and "Orange Blossom Special."
Fans who like the more wistful offerings will love "Eb and Flo." With the undercurrents of some delightful piano riffs, "Eb and Flo" is a gorgeous ballad that reminds us that regardless how times change, our moral and spiritual values should never erode. One song that will grab your attention from the first note to the last is the story-song "I Hung My Head." It is surprisingly written by Sting, but it has also been covered by Johnny Cash and Blue Highway. The song unfolds like a western movie from the 50s, telling the story of a boy who shoots a stranger (possibly by accident), the resulting shame, and the consequences he faces. "Heaven's a Heartbeat Away," which speaks of the love and redemption we have in Christ, is an apt follow-up.
Those who like their offerings grandiose will love the title cut "In My Grandpa's Pulpit," an ode to the band's patriarch. Most dramatic is "Ghost Riders in the Sky" which starts off slow before exploding into a rock-fest with a bevy of turbo-charged electric guitars on display. On the other extreme, you have subdued version of "Great is Thy Faithfulness," which is prided for its crystalline delivery. In short, this is an album for those who like their music without categorisation and boundaries. If you love artists who color outside the lines, check this record out.