Review : Gary Lucas - Chase the Devil (ft.Dean Bowman)
PastemagazinDowntown Scene veterans Gary Lucas and Dean Bowman are in pursuit of the Devil on this fiery whiskey-shot of a gospel album—they’re just not sure what they’re going to do when they catch him. Bible-referencing lyrics imply they’d like to send him straight back to the inferno whence he came, but the scorching riffs, maniacal clapping and inhuman yodels suggest they might just want to party. The songs range from Holy Roller riots to quiet, lost-in-the-mist trances; on “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground / This May Be The Last Time,” Lucas slowly plucks his steel strings while Bowman, sounding as though his eyes have rolled all the way back in his head, yelps a series of incomprehensible vowels. On “Nobody’s House” Bowman sports his blues chops with a “Lordy-lordy-lordy-lordy-lordy” that climbs the scales as though each note were a rung in Jacob’s Ladder, and Lucas shows off his Captain Beefheart training with frantic chords. Like any tent revival, this album is a blend of the scared and insane, complete only when everyone has reached a state of frantic holiness or utter possession....full text
NprIt seems the oddest of musical pairings: a simple Jewish folk song called "Hinay Ma T'ov," thought to be of Syrian origin, and a raw-edged, guitar-driven blues framework. What's more, the song has just one line, and it's a far cry from the blues. Drawn from Psalm 133, the Hebrew lyric reads, "Here's what is good and pleasant — for brothers to live together." Because opposites attract, it works.
Or maybe the song and style aren't that opposite after all. "The blues has a sweetness and purity of intent that underlines the message of the lyric," says guitarist Gary Lucas, who included "Hinay Ma T'ov" on Chase the Devil, his new album of spiritual roots music, because he's loved the song ever since he used to sing it in Hebrew School, growing up as a Reform Jew in Syracuse.
Lucas' guitar starts the minor-key, two-chord song off with a gentle pizzicato touch, then adds fuzz, funk and some otherworldly squeaks and buzzes. Having just one sentence to sing isn't a handicap for ace jazz- and bluesman Dean Bowman, whose earnest, improvisatory vocals illustrate why "repeatin' the line, repeatin' the line," as Van Morrison puts it, can lead to trance-like ecstasy. Indeed, that's what Jews have been achieving with this Sabbath-welcoming song for who knows how many years. Only now, the words are set in a new genre. Call it Middle Eastern, Hebrew-language, Biblical-based blues....full text
WildysworldGary Lucas has a reputation as one of the best guitarists alive, having played/recorded with Captain Beefheart, Jeff Buckley, John Cale, Nick Cave and Lou Reed over the years. His twenty solo albums have marked the development of his singular talent and creativity as a guitarist and composer. Gary Lucas' latest project, recorded with Jazz/Blues vocalist Dean Bowman, is entitled Chase The Devil. Available March 16, 2010, the album explores the roots of Gospel and the Blues, teaming two singular talents on an enthralling musical experience.
Chase The Devil opens with "Nobody's House", with Lucas displaying his highly rhythmic guitar style, and Bowman crooning in his earthy, soulful voice. "Nobody's House" is a song of praise and Thanksgiving offered amid the chaos of the everyday world. "God Is A Good God" is southern gospel at its finest. Bowman's vocal is inspired, and Lucas chips in with the complementary voice of his guitar, driving the background with an intensity that's nearly religious fervor. On "Twelve Gates To The City", Lucas and Bowman almost risk over-doing things a bit; letting stylistic runs in both voice and guitar overcome the essential melody and grace of the song. Both perform technically flawless, but the net effect is just too over-the-top....full text
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