Cephas Sunday Spotlight Time: The Choir – RedState
Today, the Cephas Hour spotlight shines on veteran Christian alt rockers. The chorus. Still vital and fresh as the band approaches its fortieth anniversary, the Grammy nominated Y Recipient of the Dove Award The band have stubbornly pursued their own muse for decades, producing both ethereal and earthy music as the basis for genuinely profound lyrical observations. While the entire catalog of the band is worthy of investigation, this time we will focus on the two most recent albums of the band: this year. Deep cuts and 2020’s Bloodshot.
First, Deep cuts. True art is distinguished even from quality art in the way that it evokes different reactions at different times. The same work can at one moment be politely observed and quickly set aside, with the next marked by devastating power and a completely captivating sweep through its portal provided to the hearts and heads of its creators that ultimately point to the Creator. supreme. Such is the case of Deep cuts.
The Choir’s business value has long been the atmospheric fusion of dissonance and resolution; the melody and colors of guitarist / vocalist Derri Daugherty, simple but not at all simplistic, with drummer and lyricist Steve Hindalong’s multifaceted reflections on life and faith, plus Dan Michael’s textured wind instruments. Deep cuts It is no different in this regard from the Chorus’ previous outings, although it is worth noting that the ethereal elements are more prominent this time than the previous one. Bloodshot.
What it clicks on Deep cuts This is how it takes the already familiar and makes it brand new. The melodies are solid; backup treatments improve without mastering fundamental melodies. Lyrically, Hindalong draws out relationships with God and man along with human frailty. Never grumpy, always thoughtful. The album has a nocturnal vibe; art perfectly suitable for contemplation and the memory of what was, mixed with the recognition of what is and will be.
In a perfect world Deep cuts it would be presented by the band in arenas filled with grateful fellowshippers. It will not, of course. True art rarely receives massive praise. But for the lucky few who have caught the vision, Deep cuts It is a cut very, very above the norm.
Next, Bloodshot. It’s hard to imagine The Choir being in the company of country artists when the genre was barely past its teens, a time when artists like The Carter Family, Bob Willis, and Bill Monroe roamed the country routinely, planting seeds of a language. they created. Also, it’s not that Bloodshot it is in a sense a country album. However, there is a common thread; More on that in a moment.
As noted, throughout their career, The Choir has graciously traversed between the atmospheric and the near-edgy, musically built around Derri Daugherty’s guitar sometimes dreamy and at other times, razor-cut, while Steve Hindalong’s lyrics have purposely probed relationships, the fragments of life. and faith through the eyes of a poet. In this sense, Bloodshot it is no different than its predecessors. The Choir has made extremely uniform albums for decades, never failing to offer something solid wrapped in a diversity of textures. BloodshotHowever, it does have some twists and turns that reveal that Messrs. Daugherty and Hindalong are still more than capable of bringing something new to the turntable.
Bloodshot It is, in many ways, the simplest album The Choir has ever recorded. It is not that music is an exercise in commercial formulas, sweets for the ears; rather, the songs are simple without being simplistic: more direct, more immediately accessible. Daugherty frequently employs strummed chords as a base upon which to bounce his effects-rich electrical work, using it to create much more guitar interaction than is present in most choir endeavors. Even when only one guitar is present, Daugherty achieves the rare feat of creating multiple swirls of sound dancing around each other, always perfectly intertwined within the song rather than drawing attention to themselves.
The album also differs lyrically from most previous albums in that it is much more focused on relationships. It is not that faith is being discarded, but that Bloodshot, Hindalong is at his most fun and festive moment of love between two people. This is the album you play for those who scoff at Christian music as devoid of romance.
Where the album goes back to the emerging years of the country is in its songs at its core. They are solid, simple and melodious; the essence of the country long before it became cosmopolitan. It is not difficult to listen to the compositions and imagine them coming out of a dome-shaped AM radio, played by a small acoustic ensemble in the studio of some station designed for live music. Whether this is intentional or unplanned is something only The Choir can answer, but regardless, it’s there.
It’s easy, and sadly too common, for an established band to put out the same old album after album, knowing that this will satisfy the vast majority of their audience. The Choir thinks and acts differently. Bloodshot it’s not a radical change, but rather an excellent exploration of melding songs and sounds, creating a record that is memorable for all the right reasons.
Both albums are available at the band’s website.
Samples Of course. From Bloodshot:
From Deep cuts:
And on Spotify: