Some Bright Morning from Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem
They kick things off with a high stepping high spirited take on the gospel shouter Hear Jerusalem Moan with new words written by folk bluegrass jazz musician Joe Craven. ”When we heard Joe Craven’s agnostic gospel rewrite of this bluegrass classic we knew it was for us,” Arbo says. With lyrics like “Well, spiritual people are a thinking people, Their mind’s a church and their heart’s a steeple “ and others that given nods to the wisdom of Mother Earth and the wind in the trees, you have to know they made the right choice.
It’s also a very fine way to share the band’s high energy side, and the clarity and wisdom with which they play together. Wisdom? Yes. That is a word that works here. The four members of the band -- Arbo, on fiddle; Andrew Kinsey on bass, ukulele, and banjo; Anand Nayak on electric and acoustic guitars, Scott Kessel on percussion; they all sing -- have been working together for twelve years now. With backgrounds which include bagpipes, African percussion, choral work on ancient music, and street busking, they share respect for the handed down nature of folk music and for the immediacy of music’s connection with the present. The respect and affection they share for each other comes through clearly in their music as well.
Following on the fast pace of Jerusalem Moan comes Bridges, a song Arbo wrote which takes in floods breaking physical bridges and life breaking bridges of the heart. It’s a reflective, poetic piece for which Arbo’s smoky alto is well suited.
Life, death, change, love -- all subjects where faith is involved and needed, all things which come up in the music here. I’ll Fly Away, a traditional song about death and the future, finds Nayak taking a powerful lead, something he also does on the band’s cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Reason to Believe. There’s wisdom in instrumental music, too, which you may hear in Andrew Kinsey’s original tune called Fall River. It sets a thoughtful stage for Arbo’s take on a setting of Alfred Lord Tennyson's’ Crossing the Bar, which resonates, from a very different musical place, with I’ll Fly Away.
There are twelve tracks on the album, each one of them a keeper. Though each stands clearly on its own, each part of a vibrant story of the range of questions -- and occasionally answers --encompassed by faith. Great music, great ideas, thoughtful subjects and at times a good bit of high spirited fun -- all reasons to listen to this one, and to listeni again as its stories continue to unfold.
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