Search - Various Artists, Aubrey Ghent :: Sacred Steel: Traditional Sacred African-American Steel Guitar Music In Florida

Sacred Steel: Traditional Sacred African-American Steel Guitar Music In Florida
Various Artists, Aubrey Ghent
Sacred Steel: Traditional Sacred African-American Steel Guitar Music In Florida
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, Special Interest, Pop, R&B, Rock, Christian, Gospel
 
The idea that recordings exist of bluesy, intense gospel fueled by and starring the electric steel guitar might strike one as strange. But that very thing has transpired for decades in the Jewel and Keith Dominions of the ...  more »

      
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The idea that recordings exist of bluesy, intense gospel fueled by and starring the electric steel guitar might strike one as strange. But that very thing has transpired for decades in the Jewel and Keith Dominions of the Church of the Living God, and, as this mid-'90s recording demonstrates, the results are brilliant. Sonny Treadway displays the agile virtuosity of Chet Atkins on "At the Cross" and Glenn Lee's mournful, nimble, dulcet licks on "Call Him by His Name" recall B.B. King at his fiercest. However, such facile comparisons really do a disservice to this vital sound; none of this music really resembles anything else. Particular highlights of this satisfying set's 20 tracks are the 3 sublime contributions by Willie Eason. The elderly Eason may not display the liquid bravado of others here, but his songs possess unbounded soul. His original composition "Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Poor Man's Friend" is a wonderful example of both topical material and eulogy in gospel music. His songs are sung in a baritone, preach-singing style and the playing juxtaposes strummed chords with eerie, long, looping notes that seem to hang in the air forever. The section of live religious services by Treadway, Henry Nelson, and Aubrey Ghent are stomping fun at its most sanctified. Treadway's "This Is a Holy Church" even approaches the unbridled Holy Ghost stomp of street musician Rev. Louis Overstreet. --Mike McGonigal

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CD Reviews

FANTASTIC !
Shawn Moore | Rhode Island | 04/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Being raised in the pentecostal church (Mt.Calvary and House of God keith Dominion). This cd is a reminder of the church services in Mt.Airy, NC. with my uncle on the steele and sweet sounds of the steele, giving direction and inspiration to the church service. GLenn Lee is remarkable,the way he blends country and blues with tradional steele playing. His interpretation of "Pass me not. oh gentle savior" is without comparison, an old gospel favorite, with a country twist. Totally original! Also his own "Joyful sounds" has the uncanny imprint of his uncle bishop Harisson, with a nice twist. Nothing can compare to the old favorite "Franklin D Roosevelt,A poor man's friend", by Willie Eason. Let's not forget the foot stomping "Live religious services on the cd. IF you don't get uplifted by these selections from both Jewel and Kieth Dominions check your pulse 'cause something is definitely wrong. Believe me you will love this cd and be uplifted."
Spiritual Sincerity
Michael C. Browning | Palm Beach Gardens, FL United States | 04/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I grew up in North Florida and the sounds and faith behind the words of this beautiful album are a revelation and a confirmation both. NPR uses bits of it as bridge music on their "All Things Considered" and "Morning Edition." I think it is because of the essential purity and sweetness of the music. "Little Church on the Hill" is something celestial. It evokes heaven, a place that exists only in time, not on a map. I don't listen to this every day, it is too good for that. I just listen to it in moments, and those moments, like this collection, are too lovely to convey."
The Truth Shall Set You Free!
Christopher Forbes | Brooklyn,, NY | 03/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mention the steel guitar and most likely you will get images of the Hapa Haole music of Hawaii in the 30s, or the twangy sounds of hard country. But there's another side of the steel guitar, one that is not as well known, but is perhaps one of the most amazing roots traditions still alive in this country, the black Pentecostal tradition of the pedal and laptop steel guitar. The sacred tradition of steel guitar playing reaches back to the late 20s and early 30s and is tied to the history of the Holiness churches, particularly the Keith and Jewel Dominions of the Church of the Living God, headquartered in Northern Florida. Holiness churches are deeply Pentecostal churches, taking as their primary spiritual tradition the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" which they trace to the second chapter of Acts. Music in this tradition is more than just a pretty decoration for the service. It is a sacrament in itself, serving to open congregants to the power of the Holy Spirit. True Pentecostal music, whether in traditionally white or traditionally black churches is characterized by an infectious rhythmic quality and an ecstatic lyricism based on the spirituals of the south. In the Church of the Living God, the steel guitar is the primary instrument of the worship service, replacing the more common electronic organ of most gospel music. This disc presents music from some of the Church's finest musicians. The first 9 selections are mostly instrumentals. Each practitioner approaches his instrument differently, from the almost vocal inflections of Sonny Treadway, to the more modern, jazzy improvisations of Glenn Lee, the youngest musician on this disc. Particularly amazing are the three cuts by Willie Eason, the granddaddy of the steel tradition. He uses his guitar as a backup choir to his own folksy vocals, but intersperse them with tasty fills and blues licks. Most interesting is his original composition, Franklin D. Roosevelt, which is a latterday example of the historical ballad, a form of traditional song which interprets current events through the prism of faith.The second part of the disc is the real killer, the live services. Recorded in churches throughout Florida, these cuts offer generous selections of congregational singing, lead by the steel guitar. Many of the selections represent "praise" music, songs of increasingly fast tempo that are meant to raise the spirits...and boy do they ever. Sonny Treadway's This is a Holy Church and Aubrey Ghent's Praise Music are so sanctified that you almost levitate listening to them. The music isn't polished, but that's essential to it's spirit. The music flows without restraint. This music is as wild and free as any that I've ever heard. It is truly spirit-filled!So if you are a fan of real down-home Gospel, or a fan of roots music, this CD is a must have. But it is also recommended to adventurous people into edgy jazz or other forms of alternative music. Certainly music like this goes a long way toward helping people understand the spirituality of movements like the avant-garde jazz movement. This is music of the Spirit and as any Pentecostal will tell you...the Spirit frees!"